Love Hina Fan Fiction ❯ Loss and Redemption ❯ Discipline and Tenderness ( Chapter 5 )

[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]

Disclaimer: See Prologue.

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Once again, I would like to thank all reviewers for the feedback that was provided.

This fanfic is based on the manga and anime and borrows facets from both of them.

"*" Spoken words

'*' Thoughts

Love Hina

Loss and Redemption

Chapter Four: Discipline and Tenderness

By: hawker_748


For the next two weeks Keitaro and Motoko spent the early morning on the annex rooftop, with Motoko either directing him in meditation or teaching him the correct way to hold a blade. Getting up at 4:30 in the morning never got any easier, even with a bucket of cold water for an alarm clock. Eventually, Keitaro started waking up earlier, managing to avoid the bucket. One morning he even managed to wake up before Motoko. He was tempted to wake her in the same manner that she had awakened him but he figured that he didn't need a new cast.

On the day that the cast was scheduled to come off, Motoko decided that there wouldn't be a morning lesson since he'd need sleep for what she had planned for that day. After breakfast the two of them walked to the doctors office and the cast was removed without incident. As soon as it was off Keitaro immediately started scratching the itch that he hadn't been able to reach for far too long, sighing in blessed relief as he did so.

The two of them returned to Hinata House, Keitaro getting accustomed to walking with two healthy legs once again. Once back inside, Motoko gestured for him to follow her. They walked into their room and Motoko retrieved a package from the closet.

"A small token to celebrate your recovery," she said as she passed it to him.

"Um, thanks Motoko," he replied with a hint of embarrassment. Remembering what had occurred the last time he had accepted a package from an Aoyama, Keitaro opened the package with a hint of unease. He was relieved to discover that there were no letters inside. There was only clothing and he pulled it out to reveal it was, "A hakama and gi?" he asked, the confusion apparent in his voice.

"Yes. 'Proper training clothing.' Don't you remember?" she asked.

"Yeah, I remember now," he said. "Mind stepping out so I can try this on?"

"Do I have to?" she asked, the barest hint of a smile on her face.

"Yes, if you don't mind."

"You're no fun," she pouted as she walked out the door. 'Oh well, at least I'll finally see him in a kendo outfit.'

After the door closed, Keitaro shook his head at the strangeness of what had just happened. The outfit was identical to Motoko's in all but size. He put it on and discovered that it was a perfect fit. He found himself admiring the feel of the outfit and standing a little taller because of it. At this point Motoko re-entered, without knocking, gave him a quick once over and nodded in approval.

"Very nice, at least you look the part now."

"Thank you. It fits perfectly, how'd you know my sizes?" he inquired.

"I, I looked through some of your other clothes," she replied with a hint of a blush.

"I see," he replied slowly. Can you excuse me again, I need to take it off."



"You must wear that from now on as much as possible. It will help you to think of yourself as a kendoist."

"You mean I gotta wear this thing in public?"

Motoko's eyes narrowed slightly at that question, causing Keitaro to flinch. "-I- wear that 'thing' in public. Am I doing something wrong?" she asked with more than just a hint of frost on her voice.

"No, no, no! I'm just a little surprised that's all."

"How does your leg feel?" she asked with a hint of displeasure in her voice.

"A little odd without the cast, but I'm glad its gone."

"Feel up to little exercise?"

"Yeah, I guess so."

"Excellent. We'll go for a little run."

"How little?"

"About three miles" It was clear that it was not a suggestion or a request. "You'll need to improve your endurance."

The two of them walked out of the room and headed downstairs and out the door. Keitaro had a feeling of dread in the pit of his stomach in anticipation of what this 'little run' would be like. 'I was right, it just got harder.' After taking a deep breath he started a slow jog, hampered by the unfamiliar footwear he was wearing. After getting down the stairs and turning to his right, he looked to his left and saw Motoko easily keeping pace, a contemptuous look on her face.

"Faster Urashima! I'll cut you some slack today because you just had a cast removed, but you'd better pick up the pace! Keep up with me or else!" She then increased her pace slightly and pulled ahead.

'A lot harder,' Keitaro thought despondently. He increased his pace to match hers but there were several factors working against him.

Motoko was a well-trained, well-conditioned martial artist, while he had spent several years just studying. While he had worked digs at Parakelese, there hadn't been much running involved. She was also taller than him and naturally had a longer stride. Finally, and most importantly, pride was on the line. She may have cared for Keitaro, and maybe even had romantic feelings for him, but she'd be damned if she'd let him beat her. All of this conspired to allow Keitaro first hand experience of what hell was like.

Every stride sent shockwaves from the balls of his feet all the way up to his lower back. It felt like the pavement was kicking the bottom of his foot with every step. His lungs were burning and tired from the exertion of trying to supply his muscles with oxygen. Breathing was further hampered as phlegm was building up in his throat, causing him to wheeze.

It felt like his heart was trying to send messages in Morse code; it was beating so fast. Finally, he had developed a stitch in his side, but he felt that 'stitch' didn't begin to do the feeling justice. It felt like a seamstress had grabbed him and shoved him into an industrial sewing machine. Yet he kept going, knowing that as bad as these were, Motoko would make it worse if he didn't try his best.

After what felt like an eternity, with an additional six months tacked on for good measure, Hinata House came back into view. 'Oh, *gasp* God,' Keitaro thought, 'we're *gasp* almost *gasp* there!' Even his thoughts were in gasps at this point. He turned his head slightly to look at Motoko and was inexplicably infuriated to see that she wasn't breathing hard. She didn't even seem to be sweating. He was further dismayed when she practically sprinted up the stairs.

"Finish fast, Urashima!" she called out to him.

Digging deep and calling on resources he didn't even know he had, Keitaro managed a semi-sprint up the stairs. When he finally reached the top he fell to his knees and Shinobu's breakfast made an encore appearance. As he lay there retching, racked by the dry heaves, and trying to breathe in every precious oxygen molecule he could, a shadow fell over him. Gasping, he looked up and saw Motoko standing over him. The look she was giving him was strangely neutral.

"About what I expected Urashima. Don't worry, it'll feel better shortly."

"You, you're gonna kill me?" he choked out. "Promise?"

"No you fool! Get up and start walking with your hands on your hips and breathe deep. You'll get your wind back sooner."

Keitaro reluctantly got to his feet and did what he was told. It was difficult, but in a few minutes the pain lessened significantly. It still hurt, but he was no longer praying for a giant asteroid to strike the earth and end it all. After a couple more minutes, he felt almost human again. "You were right, I feel better now."

"Good, go get cleaned up and relax a little. We'll do this again later, so be careful about eating anything."

"Again?! Are you trying to kill me?"

"I'm trying to turn you into a quarter decent kendoist," she replied.

"You'll get my best, sensei."

'Famous last words Urashima'' she thought as she turned and walked back into Hinata House, Keitaro following behind her.


Kitsune was lounging on the sofa in the living room when Keitaro and Motoko walked in. They were wearing identical outfits but while Motoko looked unruffled, Keitaro looked like he'd tried to outrun a mustang. A Carrol Shelby Mustang driven by Steve McQueen.

In the mood for a little teasing, and deciding to gauge how close the two of them really were, Kitsune let out a wolf whistle and called out, "Don't you two make a lovely couple." She then sat make to observe the reactions. Keitaro blushed but this wasn't too unusual. He was probably more embarrassed by the whistle than the couple comment. Motoko however…

'Uh-oh,' thought Kitsune.

Motoko was blushing furiously and looking quite flustered. Not her normal behavior at all, but then again she hadn't really been acting 'normal' since she got back from the challenge. Still…the prospect that Motoko was perhaps nursing some feelings for Keitaro was disturbing, and without Naru to counteract them, who knew how they might develop.

Kitsune decided that she would investigate further, but now was not the time. Later, when they were separated; perhaps she could talk to Motoko in the hot springs…Yes, that would be perfect. 'Divide and conquer,' she thought with a smirk. Then she saw someone walking up to the residence who could also be useful. However, certain preparations were necessary first.

"Su, Sarah, Shinobu, could you come here?" Kitsune called out.

Within a few moments the three girls had arrived. "What's goin' on?" asked Sarah. She then noticed Keitaro and Motoko standing there. "What's with the outfit, dork?"

"Never mind that, go grab a couple of cushions," Kitsune ordered.

Shinobu stared at Keitaro and Motoko's matching outfits for a couple of seconds before she retrieved two cushions. The amount of worry she had internalized began to grow slightly. "What do we do with these?" she asked.

"You'll see," Kitsune replied cryptically. She then broke into a wide grin. "Mutsumi! It's good to see you again! How was Okinawa?" The other residents turned around and sure enough, Mutsumi was walking in.

"Wonderful!" She then noticed Keitaro and Motoko. "Ah, Keitaro, why are you wearing Motoko's clothes?"

This question resulted in a collective face-fault.

After getting back on her feet Kitsune replied, "He didn't borrow them, they're his. She's training him in kendo."

A confused look appeared on Mutsumi's face. "Why?"

'Sorry to do this to you sister, but…' "They're married now, so it seemed the right thing to do," Kitsune answered. With her hands she gestured for Su, Shinobu and Sarah to move behind Mutsumi with the cushions.

"Married?" Mutsumi asked.

"Yep. NOW you three!" Kitsune shouted as Mutsumi started to swoon.

Shinobu, Sarah and Su understood instantly and threw the cushions under Mutsumi. She collapsed into the soft pile, which prevented her from banging her chin on the floor. As a result she was merely unconscious and her spirit didn't start to float away.

'I'm glad some things are still predictable.' "Good work you three, let's get her on the sofa," stated Kitsune.


"…so basically, that's what's happening. If I can impress Tsuruko with what I've learned, Motoko will be allowed back into her families' school. It'll also cause the marriage to be annulled," Keitaro concluded softly.

"I see…" replied Mutsumi, her expression the same blissful one she always wore. "What does Naru think of Keitaro and Motoko being married?"

There was an uncomfortable silence until Keitaro spoke up. "She's not here. She went to visit her family for a while and she doesn't know about the chance we have to break the engagement."

"You can't tell her?"

"We can't reach her. She won't answer her cell phone, e-mail, instant messages, and her family refuses to pass on any messages. Believe me, we've tried," answered Kitsune. "We'll have to wait until she comes back to tell her."

"If she comes back," muttered Sarah.

Keitaro glared at Sarah in response. "She'll be back, I know it," he said with absolute conviction.

'Wishful thinking or speaking from the heart?' Motoko silently contemplated.

"I agree, she'll be back," Kitsune added. 'If she wants a chance with Keitaro the sooner she gets back the better.' Kitsune's usual smirk grew slightly as she asked, "Mutsumi, would you like to join us in the hot spring?"

Mutsumi's eyes glazed over and a dreamy look came over her face. "Sure! Let's take the shortcut," she said as she headed for the hidden entrance.

"Let's just use the hallway, O.K?" Kitsune replied. She then looked at Keitaro and decided to try another test. "Hey Keitaro, even though your wife is in the bath that doesn't mean that you can peep at the rest of us!" she said in a mock threatening tone. She was a little worried when Motoko merely blushed instead of making a threat towards Keitaro.

For his part Keitaro blushed upon recalling all that he had seen the previous nights. He used the back of his right hand to wipe away the single drop of blood that had been discharged from his nose. Realizing that he wouldn't be welcome anywhere near the hot springs, he went to his private bath to clean himself up and soak his sore muscles.


After all of the women had entered the hot spring and engaged in small talk for a few minutes, Kitsune decided that it was time to get down to business. Figuring that Mutsumi was as good a place to start as anywhere, she said, "So Mutsumi, what do you think of our newlyweds?"

All of the ambient chatter ceased as though a switch had been thrown.

Mutsumi pursed her lips in thought and replied, "It's unexpected. I didn't think that they liked each other. Are they closer now?"

"Probably a little, they do sleep together," responded Kitsune.

Motoko blushed heavily at this and stammered, "It, it, its not like that! We sleep in the same room but nothing happens!"

"Is that disappointment I hear in your voice?" Kitsune needled. 'Damn, she's not objecting with that much vehemence. This could be worse than I thought.'

"No! It's not like that at all! I'm merely teaching him kendo, and the two of us wake up earlier than anyone else. By being in the same room we don't disturb anyone else."

'That sounds a little more reassuring,' Kitsune thought. "You really want back into your family school, don't you?"

"Of course, it's what I live for," she replied succinctly.

'Better, much better.' "So how goes the training Motoko?" asked Kitsune.

"Difficult. We have a lot to accomplish and only a short time to do it."

"So you have to push Urashima very hard? Oh my. He can't be enjoying that, can he?" commented Mutsumi.

"No, but our style isn't easy to learn. It takes a lot of effort and sacrifice."

"How is sempai doing?" asked Shinobu.

"He's trying the best he can," replied Motoko.

"Yeah," Su interjected, "he ran until he tossed his cookies today!"

"Su!" cried out Shinobu.

"Yep, he puked, heaved, barfed,-"

"We get the point!" shouted Kitsune, who was looking a little green around the gills.

Mutsumi, seemingly unaffected by the topic of conversation, asked, "So what's it like being married to Keitaro?"

"Yeah, tell us!" added Sarah.

The other residents were all leaning forward in anticipation of Motoko's answer.

"It's… alright."

As one, the other residents of Hinata House blinked.

"Just alright?" asked Kitsune.

"Isn't that rather dull?" inquired Mutsumi.

"No! I mean we train together, we sleep together,-"

"Now we're getting somewhere!" cried Kitsune, while Shinobu blushed to the point that she could have hidden in a tomato patch. "What's the flight time for the flying turtle?"

"I didn't mean like that!" shrieked Motoko. "We sleep next to each other on two futons, we don't have any contact." 'Aside from that one night,' she recalled with a faint blush. 'It was… very nice, but we haven't done anything since.' Motoko was a little surprised at the disappointment that thought brought her.

"I was right, that's dull," chortled Kitsune. "Doesn't seem worth the trouble to me."

"What, what do you mean?" stammered Motoko.

'Good, good, just have to keep it up,' Kitsune thought to herself with a slightly sinister grin. "How much 'fun' can it be if you need two futons?"

Motoko was unable to think of a way to respond to this comment.

"Oh my, that's not fun at all," added Mutsumi. "At least Keitaro's working hard at the training, right?"

"Yes, that's correct," responded Motoko.

"Narusegawa should be happy when she hears how hard that Keitaro is working to get out of the marriage, right?" Mutsumi asked.

Motoko swallowed once before answering. "I, I suppose so."

"Yeah, it's perfect," chortled Sarah. "Motoko just has to keep cracking that whip and that dork will do anything to get away!" Caught up in her malicious glee, Sarah didn't notice the pensive look that came over Motoko's face.

Kitsune noticed it though. 'Shit! Is she starting to have second thoughts?' She threw an icy stare at Sarah that the younger girl didn't notice. 'Sarah just had to bring it out in the open didn't she? Motoko didn't seem to be bothered by losing Keitaro until that brat opened her big mouth!'

"Hey, when will Naru come back?" asked Su.

Everyone looked at Kitsune, who simply sighed and said, "I'm not certain, maybe a month or so."

"How hard will you train sempai?" asked Shinobu.

"As hard as I must," Motoko replied. Her voice betrayed none of the uncertainty she was now feeling.

"Good luck then," Shinobu said with complete honesty.

"Thank you. On that subject, I think that its time for another training session. If you'll excuse me," Motoko said as she walked out of the bath.

Watching her leave Kitsune thought, 'she's gonna work that poor guy to death. I'll do what I can Naru, but it would be easier if you were here.'

The mood in the bath lightened considerably when Su asked Mutsumi if she could get some more hot springs turtles so she could try a new turtle noodle soup recipe she had discovered. In the resulting 'discussion', any thoughts of Keitaro and Motoko were pushed to the back of everyone's mind.


True to her word, Motoko found Keitaro and told him that it was time for another run.

"How long?" he asked.

"Three miles, just through the neighbourhood."

"Alright, let me go change…"

"-Urashima," Motoko interrupted. "Wait," she told him, "for this, you can wear sweatpants and a shirt."

"O.K. Then gimme two minutes."

Just over a minute later the two of them were standing at the top of the stairs of Hinata House and ready to begin. Motoko turned to Keitaro and said, "You should be able to keep a better pace in that outfit, so we'll go a little faster this time."

'Better pace?! Is she slipping steroids into my food?' "Yes sensei."

"Remember, the pain will go away eventually so don't be afraid to push yourself. Let's go." With that she started to jog down the stairs, Keitaro following behind her.

Running through the neighbourhood, Motoko was outwardly the epitome of focus; Keitaro was doggedly trying to keep pace despite his obvious fatigue. In reality, Motoko was running on autopilot, trying to make sense of the confusion in her thoughts.

'Am I trying to push him away?' she asked herself. 'No, I'm not. At least I don't think I am. I'm simply training him kendo, and that training will be lot of work. I told him it would be hard, he should be expecting this.'

'But I'm supposed to be his wife. We should be equals, but I'm treating him just like any other student. But he's more than just student isn't he? He's my husband. Perhaps reluctantly, but he's done more for me than anyone else ever has in my life.' Motoko had a sudden flashback to a night a few weeks earlier. She remembered stifled screams of agony, the gentle kiss of cold steel, and the dripping warmth of freshly spilled blood.

'He saved my life. He suffered terrible injuries to protect me from myself. He did that for me and I treat him like he's just another student. No warmth, no compassion, just another student.'

She looked over to see how Keitaro was handling the run. As she expected, he was beat. But he wasn't beaten. Far from it, the determination she saw in his eyes told her that he'd run with her until he dropped.

'He seems to be giving it his all,' she mused. 'I don't know what his kendo skills are like, but I can't find fault with his effort and determination.' This thought gave her pause, as it raised another point in her mind. 'Why is he working so hard? He said he cares for me, but he's working as if he wants to impress Tsuruko and get out of the marriage.'

'But his main interest is getting me back into the Shinmei School,' Motoko recalled. 'He went to see Tsuruko behind my back not to end the marriage, but to get me reinstated. Or is he just saying that to spare my feelings? If he really was interested in me, then there'd be no reason to push himself this hard. If he gave a half effort than there'd be no way he'd impress Tsuruko and we be married for real.' Upon contemplation, Motoko was able to bring herself to admit that she could probably live with that.

'But he's willing to nearly kill himself to get me reinstated and end the marriage. Why would he make the effort if he wanted me? Why is my reinstatement so important to him?' She nearly smacked herself in the head as she realized that there was an obvious way to find out staring her in the face. 'Why don't I just ask him?' As Hinata House loomed in front of them, she decided to do just that.

After reaching Hinata House once again, Motoko was pleased to see that while Keitaro was having trouble trying to catch his breath, he wasn't throwing up either. She allowed a small smile to appear and told him, "Better Urashima, it wasn't as hard this time was it?"

"No, it wasn't. Death wouldn't be an improvement this time," he gasped.

As she watched him get his strength back, she decided that she would ask him now, while they had a moment of relative privacy.

"Urashima, may I ask you a personal question?"

"Sure, go ahead."

"Do you find being married to me that distasteful?" she asked quietly.

Keitaro was taken aback at this question, but quickly responded, "No I don't, why do you ask?"

"Why are you working so hard to impress my sister? Why are you working so hard to end the marriage?"

"I'm not. Being married to you could be, rather, is nice, but that's not what you really want is it?"

Surprised at being the one to answer a question like that, Motoko replied, "I don't know what you mean."

"Your first love is the Shinmei School right?" When Motoko nodded, he continued. "I'm doing this to get you back in, that's why."

"But why is it so important to you Urashima?" Motoko asked uncertainly.

Keitaro didn't answer that, at least not verbally. He walked up to Motoko until he was standing in front of her. He looked around to make sure that none of the other residents was in the vicinity. Satisfied that no one was looking, he held up his hands, palms facing her.

Motoko drew in a sharp breath as she realized what he was attempting to demonstrate. Running horizontally across each palm was a long, thin scar, a souvenir of her suicide attempt of a few weeks ago.

In a quiet voice he said, "that's why. I'm worried about you, and I'm concerned by what you might do. I know you said you wouldn't, but I don't know for sure." He then put his hands down and walked past her into the residence, leaving a shaken Motoko behind him.


For the remainder of the afternoon and evening Motoko made an active effort to avoid Keitaro, as she didn't think that she could face him for a while. While Keitaro and the others enjoyed a visit with Mutsumi, Motoko spent most of the time on the roof, in Keitaro's traditional spot, lost in thought.

Kitsune and the others noticed her absence but didn't know what it was about and were uncomfortable at the prospect of raising the issue with Keitaro. In addition, no one was in any mood to risk a return of the stress and tension of a couple of weeks ago, and so they decided to avoid the issue in the hopes that it would go away on its own. And in the back of Kitsune's mind, she was hoping that a little friction between Keitaro and Motoko would help Naru's chances. She had no ill will towards either of them, but Naru needed all the help she could get right now.

Later that evening, after Mutsumi had left and Keitaro was in his room getting ready for bed, Motoko finally walked in. Keitaro stopped removing his sock, looked up at her for a few seconds and then resumed undressing.

Motoko had been nervous about facing Keitaro again, but she had come to a decision while thinking on the roof. 'I owe him my life, I may end up owing him for being able to rejoin the Shinmei School. The least I could do is show him a little kindness. I can be a little more humane in my teaching methods, right?'

Motoko allowed herself to make an admission. 'I do care for Keitaro. I see that now. Why shouldn't I try to let him know that? Why not show him?'

She nodded to herself as she decided on a course of action. 'I've been thinking that he isn't acting much like a husband. Well, am I acting anything like a wife? No, I'm not. Maybe, maybe I should start to change that.'

After taking a deep breath to calm herself, she said "How are you feeling Uras- Keitaro?"

Surprised at hearing his first name, Keitaro looked up at Motoko and replied, "I'm O.K., I guess. My muscles are just a little sore."

"I see." Noticing that Keitaro was only wearing a shirt and boxer shorts, she asked him, "Keitaro, could you please lie down on your stomach?" 'Yes, I think it's time I started to act a little like a wife.'

Confused by this unusual request, Keitaro simply did as he was asked. 'What's going on, is this some type of punishment?' he wondered as Motoko walked over to the futon and sat down next to his knees. 'Don't know why I'd be punished though, I haven't d-' the rest of that thought was cut off as Motoko placed her hands on his lower calves and began to massage them.

'His legs will undoubtedly hurt the most after all that running' Motoko thought to herself as she proceeded to work out some of the tenseness in Keitaro's legs. She worked up and down the back of his legs, going as high as the edge of his boxer shorts. 'This feels nice,' Motoko noticed with a little surprise. 'I knew that he would like it, but this is kind of fun for me, too.' So focused was she on his legs, she failed to notice that his upper body had gone as tight as a drum skin.

If anyone had asked Keitaro, he would have sworn that all activity in his brain had come to a screeching halt. The idea that Motoko would willingly give him a massage was inconceivable. Oh, she had done it once before when everyone had thought he'd failed the center exam, but that time it had felt like someone was driving a steamroller on his back. This was gentler, softer, almost sensual. Hell, it WAS sensual, and Keitaro was thankful that the way he was lying down prevented any visually embarrassing moments.

Motoko's hands moved up and down Keitaro's legs, rubbing and squeezing as they went. 'He seems to be uptight,' Motoko mused, as she went after a stubborn knot of tension in his left leg. 'It would be lot more pleasant for the both of us if I was a little more civil towards him.' She started to use her fists to pound on his legs above the knee, smiling to herself as he felt the tension lessen.

'I'm a little surprised,' she thought, 'I may have not thought of him as active, but his legs aren't in too bad shape.' Motoko found herself enjoying the sensation of rubbing Keitaro's legs, and a little curious about the other parts of his body. Trying to keep herself focused on what she was doing, Motoko tried to push all extraneous thoughts out of her head, but her slight blush was testament to how difficult that was.

Gradually, Keitaro began to let himself relax and loosen the tensed up muscles in his back. Motoko's hands felt strong, callused, but with some softness there. 'Every woman would love to have hands that feel like hers,' he mused. The calluses added a firmness to her grip that made the massage more effective. They weren't any really rough areas, and the varying textures was causing all sorts of nice sensations. Her hands felt wonderful on his legs and he began to wonder what they'd feel like elsewhere, and if all of her skin was that smooth.

As Motoko continued to rub, knead, and squeeze the muscles on Keitaro's legs she figured that she had done everything that she could to work out the knots in his legs. Her eyes fell onto his back and her curiosity inspired a small debate. 'Should I…?, no, it's too forward. But on the other hand, I was wondering about it, right? Besides, it's what a wife would do, I'll do it…' A Kitsune like smirk came over her features. 'He does have a great deal of tension there anyway.'

Keitaro was enjoying the sensation of pain free legs and a few not so innocent thoughts about Motoko when he felt her hands leave his legs. He was about to thank her when she suddenly straddled his hips and pushed his shirt up. The level of tension in his back and shoulders shot up exponentially and his brain started to short circuit. 'What the h-'

Any further thoughts were eliminated when he felt Motoko rest her hands on his shoulder blades and then begin to work out the suddenly abundant tension there. The leg massage had been wonderful, this was… indescribable. Despite the fact that his blood pressure was probably off the scale, Motoko was working out the knots in his back. Almost unwillingly, he felt himself relax as weeks worth of tension was eliminated from his body.

Motoko was enjoying the sensation of relieving the pent up stress in Keitaro's back and shoulders. He had a more athletic build than she would have expected, and he was warm as well as being tense. She couldn't deny the fact that she liked the feeling of his back and shoulders under her hands. 'I'm feeling a little odd,' she realized. 'I'm flushed, and why is my heart pounding? This isn't hard work.' Her eyes opened wide and her blush deepened as she remembered the last time she'd had a feeling like this.

But this time, she was virtually positive that she wasn't coming down with a cold.

Keitaro was unaware of this revelation in Motoko's thoughts, as he was too busy luxuriating in the massage. Motoko's hands felt incredible, but there was something else, a feeling almost like a silk cloth on his back. 'My God, her hair!' he realized. Her hair was brushing against his back and adding an amazing counterpoint to a truly wonderful massage. Keitaro realized that he was becoming sexually aroused as his breathing started to become shallow. Just when it seemed that he'd start to lose control Motoko stopped.

Keitaro barely prevented himself from pleading for Motoko to continue.


"Do you feel better now, Keitaro?" Motoko asked. She was still straddling him so he had to look up over his shoulder to see her.

'I'd feel better if you hadn't stopped,' he thought. "Yes, thank you Motoko. The stiffness is gone now." 'Most of it anyway.'

She pushed herself off of him and stood up. "I'm sorry that I've been so harsh a sensei Keitaro, you didn't deserve it."

"What do you mean, Motoko?"

"I mean you've done everything that's been asked of you and more without complaint," she replied. "You've been there for me, comforted me, and you even saved my life. And I still treated you like you were just another student," she concluded sadly.

Keitaro looked up at her for a few minutes, trying to determine what to say. Finaly he said, "Please don't be sad Motoko, you don't deserve any more sadness. There's no need to apologize, you're just trying to do your best." With a small smile he added, "'Sides, I think I work better with stern discipline." He was startled when an image came into his mind unbidden of Motoko in a dominatrix outfit, causing him to blush.

"You're very kind Keitaro. If you'll excuse me, I have to prepare for bed," she stated as she walked out the door.

As soon as the door closed Keitaro released all of the facial control he had been using and he struggled to catch his breath. 'My God, that was… hot! Where did she learn to do that?!' he wondered as he attempted to get his blood flow back down to normal.

His efforts at self-control were hampered when Motoko re-entered the room. 'He's looking at me,' she realized. She had to admit she kind of liked having him look at her like that. 'Just a little tenderness seems to work wonders.' She then started to change into her nightshirt with out making much of an effort to conceal herself from Keitaro.

For Keitaro this was exquisite torture. He knew that he cared for Naru and that maybe he even loved her, but he had NEVER been this excited by her, not even in that hotel room in Kyoto. He'd never been this excited before in his life. He longed to take Motoko in his arms and make her his, but he knew that if he did everything would change. This gave him pause, as he wasn't sure that he wasn't just feeling lust right now.

'O.K., it probably is lust,' he reluctantly concluded.

'Alright, it IS lust,' he admitted finally.

Keitaro didn't want to do anything that would end up hurting anyone, so he was able to mentally put down his hormones. While he'd been having an internal debate, Motoko finished dressing and laid down on her futon and turned out the light.

"Goodnight Keitaro," she whispered in a throaty voice that caused the hairs on the back of his neck, among other things, to stand up.

"G, goodnight Motoko," he replied hesitantly. As he lay there, thinking back to what had just happened, he remembered his promise to get her back in the Shinmei School. That more than anything helped kill the last traces of desire in his system. 'She wants to be a warrior, not a wife. Remember that and throttle back!' But a small voice was asking him if that was what HE wanted

Having somewhat reluctantly decided on what he believed to be the right course of action, Keitaro closed his eyes and attempted to fall asleep. Only tonight, sleep was the farthest thing from his mind.

'This is gonna be a long night,' he thought miserably.

End Chapter Four

Coming Soon: Chapter 5

Yet again, Thanks to Harvey Bautista for riding shotgun on this story and pre-reading it.