Fan Fic / Contract Labor

Contract Labor is a Love Hina Fan Fic written by Greydon Creed. The fic can be read here.

Unlike canon, Keitaro Urashima is far from an Extreme Doormat and comes to manage the Hinata House with quite a bit more assertiveness. The story is ongoing, with somewhat frequent updates.


This fic contains examples of the following tropes (Beware of spoilers, including future ones):

  • Accidental Pervert: Contrary to expectations, Keitaro has had only two major incidents so far: once when he first arrives at the Hinata, and once when he investigates the hole in Naru's bedroom floor only to accidentally see her in her underwear.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: In chapter 29, Kitsune playfully teases Naru about her first meeting with Keitaro in the hot springs in the first chapter, telling her to leave her glasses on so she can make sure it's actually Kitsune when they go in the springs, "especially if she wants to compare breast sizes again." Naru gets a Luminescent Blush and orders Kitsune out of the room... but nonetheless laughs at that.
  • Adaptational Badass: As we all know, in canon, Keitaro was little more than a spineless Extreme Doormat who essentially let the Hinata's tenants step all over him. Here, he's far more assertive and actually has a backbone, being far more willing to stand up to the tenants.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Sarah refers to Keitaro as "the dork." Her adoptive father Seta (and Keitaro, initially only in his thoughts, later out loud) sometimes call Sarah "gaki" (i.e. brat).
  • Aggressive Categorism: To the very end, Motoko refuses to see Keitaro as anything but a dishonorable future pervert, despite all evidence to the contrary, simply because he's a man.
  • Almighty Janitor: Keitaro is publicly the manager of the Hinata-sou, a hot springs inn converted into a schoolgirl's dormitory. Most of his time after he first became manager was spent fixing the place up after some neglect. But Keitaro is also the newly appointed heir of the Urashima Clan, a family that has a history as a noble feudal samurai clan, extensive real estate holdings (there is a reason why the town around the Inn is called Hinata City) and access to a black book full of names of the high ranking and connected.
    • Hinata Urashima (150 cm/4ft 10in tall, 44kg/97lbs) looks like your ordinary Japanese oba-sama (granny). She also moves like a ghost, can fight off an entire group of armed martial arts students barehanded and scares yakuza.
      • Hina and Keitaro are the only living holders of the Urashima-ryu red belt with family crest, meaning they have killed to protect family members; see Badass Family below.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Mutsumi responds to Naru's accusations that Keitaro is a pervert by asking her about their first meeting, forcing Naru to admit that she walked in on him and then had him grab her breasts.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Sarah and Nyamo. While in a fight at Japanese public school where they are rushed by bullies, they wind up this way. Then Su drops in...
  • Badass Family: The Urashimas. The family martial art style (known in canon as Urashima-ryu) is based around jujitsu, tai chi and kenjutsu before branching out into incorporated styles. They only have 3 kinds of belts for their training: white, black and red. All beginners wear white, black is for those who have used their training to protect themselves or others and those who have killed while protecting from harm receive the red belt. Haruka and Kanako are black belts, late Great-Uncle Hiro was a red belt, and Granny Hina and Keitaro are red belts with the Urashima crest, which means they have killed protecting a family member. Keitaro earned his red belt with family crest in-story at age 18/19; Hina and Hiro got their red belts in 1947 at age 12 and 10, respectively.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Keitaro usually wears a t-shirt and jeans/shorts at the Hinata-sou, or at most slacks and a dress shirt. But in order to maintain his cover in Roanapur he wore one of several very nice suits along with red tinted prescription lens Ray-Ban Wayfarers. Keitaro also wears a suit when he reunites with Natsumi and Miyuki at Todai, and he does not understand the reaction he gets from the girls or from other females on the campus. Averted at the end of the Roanapur arc when Keitaro wears a very different kind of suit.
  • Badass Longcoat: While in Roanapur canon characters Boss Chang and Balilaika wear their fashionable black dress coat and Soviet Army greatcoat, respectively. Keitaro, in his undercover role, wears a regular knee-length rain coat, as is it monsoon season in Thailand that time of year.
  • Battle Aura: Produced by three people (so far) in the story, usually when highly emotional. Keitaro produced a freezing cold aura (signifying furious anger) when talking to Tsuruko about Motoko's banishment, and Tsuruko produced a similar aura talking to the Aoyama family council. Kanako produced a visible orange aura (signifying rage) when told about Keitaro's relationship with Miyuki and Natsumi. Keitaro also mentioned that some people in a berserker rage will start glowing.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Gidget the turtle has survived the eruption of Krakatoa (and in fact was saved by the eruption: she had been captured by whalers and was about to be eaten when the eruption sank their ship and freed her), and during World War II saved the life of a sailor implied to be John F. Kennedy.
  • Berserk Button: Keitaro has three; an innocent or someone he cares for being hurt or threatened, someone he considers a little sister being hurt or threatened, and sexual assault. The Buttons stack; pushing one will get him visibly angry, pushing two will cause him to go into a Tranquil Fury, and all three being pushed at once will set him off in an Unstoppable Rage. Each has happened at least once to Keitaro in the story.
  • The Berserker: Naru is recognized as one and is forced to take tai chi as anger management if she wants to stay at the dorm.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Tsuruko warns Motoko of this about the Urashima clan. Motoko doesn't listen. Tsuruko does not know how right she is until just before the start of Keitaro's and Motoko's duel when she sees that Keitaro is wearing a red belt.
  • Beware the Superman: In chapter 17, Tsuruko bemoans the fact that the skills of the Shinmei-ryū school, which have been passed down for generations in order to protect others have been abused by an "angry petulant little girl" like Motoko.
  • Bi the Way: Natsumi and Miyuki are involved with Keitaro and each other. Motoko has some attraction to Keitaro but most of her Character Development begins showing after she starts a relationship with a woman.
    • OC Aki Wakirihara is shown flirting with both boys and girls, stating boys are better for sex and girls are better for cuddling.
  • Big Brother Instinct: You harm Kanako and Sarah when Keitaro's around, you die. While he had very good reasons for it, Keitaro now has a rather long list of people he's harmed/killed in their defense.
  • Big Brother Worship: Kanako naturally. This grew when Keitaro rescued her from a gang when she was drugged and kidnapped into to be sold into sex slavery. Unfortunately for Keitaro, this is also the source of her Big Brother Attraction
    • Sarah as well, though not nearly as much. Keitaro also rescued her from human traffickers in Thailand.
  • Code Name:
    • While talking on the radios at the Thai excavation, everyone used a call sign; Seta was Sensei (professor at Todai) , Gaz was Sword (former SAS, whose insignia includes a flaming sword), Yuri was Drago (looks like Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV), and Keitaro was Ronin (failed uni exam - while of samurai descent, he is NOT master-less). Even Sarah has an unofficial callsign - Gaki (brat).
    • Western nations have known about ki/chi fighters since the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900, which was put down by Western forces with overwhelming firepower. They started serious research after the Pacific War due to Japan's use of chi-enhanced soldiers in hand-to-hand fights and banzai charges. Both NATO and the former Soviet Union were able to develop small numbers of chi-enhanced fighters, which were mostly used in special operations. Keitaro is mistaken for one of these when he arrives in Roanapur. The names of the projects became the names of the enhanced soldiers, which was Chimera in the USSR and Hellfighter in the US military.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Keitaro manages to get the better of Motoko during their duel in chapter 21 by mixing up swordplay with hand-to-hand combat, exploiting the fact that Motoko has only been seriously trained in swordsmanship.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Averted. When Keitaro asks why he's being trained to shoot up to three targets, Natsumi and Miyuki explain that if he's faced with four or more gunmen, they'll most likely kill him before he can shoot all of them.
  • Coup de Grce: Keitaro and Gaz do not leave dangerous wounded enemies alive after they defeat them. Also done to make sure that an opponent is not faking death to shoot them from behind - called dead checking or confirming kills - usually with a head shot.
    • Once they extracted all the necessary intel from the Russian sex trafficker in Phuket, Keitaro deliberately overdosed him with morphine to cause his death. Releasing the man would have risked exposure of their rescue mission to recover Sarah.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Motoko's skill on swordsmanship and only swordsmanship comes back to bite her when she duels Keitaro.
  • Crossover: A minor one with You're Under Arrest!, with Keitaro having both trained and been romantically involved with Natsumi and Miyuki. An even more minor one with Street Fighter is mentioned in chapter 22.
  • Crouching Scholar Hidden Badass: Keitaro humbly self-identifies as a Todai aspirant, or if he is really down on himself as a Ronin (someone who did not gain admittance to the college/university of their choice, but originally a masterless samurai). But if someone is in serious danger (not himself, mind you), the gloves come off. Just ask the biker gang members who kidnapped Kanako. Or the pirates and human traffickers that had taken Sarah. Or various people in Roanapur. Or to a lesser extent when Naru was kidnapped at knife point by two gang members. Lesser only because no one died in that incident.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: To protect Seta, who was shot by pirates with connections to the Thai police, Keitaro (posing as a Special Branch officer) claims Seta was injured in a motorcycle accident. The attending doctor decides not to argue and changes the medical records to reflect this.
  • The Determinator: Keitaro. Made a promise as a five year old to a little girl whos face or name you cant remember to get accepted to the most prestigious and difficult to enter university in the country to reunite with her and live happily ever after? He took the entry exam while concussed from a beating, and is planning to do so again (taking the test, not the concussion). See your little sister being kidnapped by bikers? Charge right after her, smashing your way through goons and going up bare handed against the leader who is armed with a sword cane. The archeological expedition you are on gets raided by pirates, wounding your sensei, killing another member and kidnapping the young daughter of your sensei? Do whatever it takes to get intel from the one pirate you can find to recover her. Finding out that the girl has been shipped off to Roanapur to be sold to the highest bidder? Keitaro Urashima keeps his promises...
  • Dirty Mind-Reading: Motoko has the power to read people's emotional auras. Lustful desire is what she finds the most in men's thoughts.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Motoko is called out on this several times, and the new rules of the inn ban it entirely. Sadly, it doesn't help and she is kicked out.
    • Keitaro then calls out her family for their retribution of kicking her out of the family instead of trying to help her work through her issues.
  • Dynamic Entry: In Ch 15 Motoko attacks Keitaro with a bokken after she thinks that he assaulted Naru. Kanako does one of these by silently running up behind Motoko and side-kicking her along the side of her head with a slippered foot and knocking her out. In Ch 18 it is stated that this was a deliberately non-lethal blow - Kanako could have have struck at the back of Motoko's head with her foot and severed her brain stem from her spinal cord, resulting in a instant One-Hit Kill.
    • Earlier in Ch 15 Haruka jokes that if Kanako knew that Keitaro was being questioned at the police station, Kanako would do a Dynamic Entry through a cinderblock wall to get him out.
  • Evil Weapon: The Juuchi Yasamu (Ten Thousand Cold Nights Sword) aka Hina Demon Blade requires blood every time it's drawn before it can be sheathed. Keitaro also warns Kanako to never cut herself on the blade or she'll risk Demonic Possession.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: When he meets Natsumi and Miyuki in chapter 24, Keitaro, having been told to look out for them because they would be training him for Seta's expedition, briefly does not believe that they are who he was looking for. This is mostly because when Seta told Keitaro where to meet his new trainers, as a joke he only referred to them by their last names, and Keitaro did not realize they were youngish females.
  • Facial Dialogue: Miyuki and Natsumi have had a couple of conversations like this; first during Granny Hina's visit to their apartment when she made her offer to them, and during the Christmas party when they get Seta to dance with Naru and Keitaro to dance with Kanako.
  • Fallen Princess: Motoko is banished from her family and stripped of her status. She is forbidden from practicing her family art, lives in a shoddy apartment, and is forced to work as a waitress in a cosplay-cafe to gain extra income. She slowly grows out of her misandry with the support of her co-workers and the desire not to lose her job.
  • Fatal Flaw: Motoko's self-righteousness, refusal to admit she's wrong and the fact that she's capable of almost anything when upset cause more than one tragedy of impulsiveness.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Keitaro and Gaz.
  • Freudian Excuse: According to chapter 35, at least part of the reason Motoko is so against men and relationships is because she got lousy advice about sex from her great-aunt as a child.
  • Freudian Trio: The two personality aspects and the one spirit in Keitaro's mindscape in Ch 47. Yukiko the spirit is the Ego, Taro the scholar is the Superego, and Hiro the ronin is the Id.
  • Gun Nut:
    • Averted by Keitaro. Although he has been trained to use firearms as part of his job as a security contractor, he simply views them as tools to be used. Gaz has to convince Keitaro to hang on to a blinged-out pistol recovered from a dead dirty cop. Keitaro later uses the pistol and the dead cop's ID to impersonate a Special Branch (i.e. secret police) officer to ease through certain situations. While undercover in Roanapur Keitaro did carry a pistol and knife, but only to not stand out, and to be taken seriously by the criminal element.
    • Invoked by Keitaro's girlfriend Natsumi. Even as a Tokyo police officer she would normally not carry firearms on duty, so she joined the police department Special Unit (SWAT) to get access to them and was sent to the US to train with the Los Angeles Police Department SWAT Unit. Natsumi regularly out-shot experienced SWAT operators and police officers, to the point where she did not have to pay for beers or dinner from all the bets she had won.
  • Held Gaze: Keitaro and Kanako, although mostly as a sign of trust (and romantic interest) from Kanako. The two have conversed with each other while both inside arm's reach and while hugging each other face to face.
    • Keitaro and Kanako have performed tai chi kata where they are literally mirroring each others motions perfectly while standing face to face, staring into each others eyes. It is a sign of near total familiarity and trust in another person in martial arts.
    • Motoko and her boss Kotoko after their first night together. Motoko could not look away from the other girl's eyes as they lay in each others arms and spoke the morning after.
  • Heroic Safe Mode: Keitaro goes into a mild form of this during the pirate raid at the excavation site when he has to take out a pirate quietly but messily by cutting his throat, and later when forcing information from a pirate suspect right after Sarah was taken. Once he goes decides to go to Roanapur to rescue Sarah... oh boy.
  • Hidden Depths: In chapter 34, Su surprises everyone when she reveals full knowledge of sex, her mother and older sister having told her about the birds and the bees when she hit puberty at ten. Not only that, but she apparently reads hentai manga (though she doesn't read anything involving tentacles because they're "too icky"). She also helps produce hentai doujinshi manga and finances a vanilla (romantic non-violent) hentai translation group to post said doujinshi online.. with her lunch money.
    • Keitaro, as admitted by the synopsis, is FULL of surprises.
  • Hired Guns: Keitaro, Gaz, and Yuri's basic job during the Thai archeological expedition. The official job description of Contract Labor is to conceal the fact that the University of Tokyo is paying for what used to be known as mercenaries to provide armed site security. While Keitaro also assists Seta with the dig, Gaz and Yuri have mostly guard duties.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Motoko's All Men Are Perverts mentality is, in part, the reason she ends up evicted from the Hinata House.
  • Honor Before Reason: The Aoyama clan. Rather than try to help Motoko through her problems both before and after she attacked Keitaro with the intent to cause at least great bodily harm, the Elders of the family initially are going to expel her from the clan, prohibit her from using her family name (a VERY big deal in family-centric Japan) and bar her from using the family martial arts. Since this would also mean cutting off all financial support, Motoko would only be able to work in the sex trade. Instead, Big Sister Tsuruko blackmails the Elders to reduce the punishment to a temporary banishment and ban, and will financially support Motoko herself.
  • Humiliation Conga: In chapters 15-22, Motoko is subjected to a particularly brutal one. First, she assaults Keitaro over a misunderstanding (see Out-of-Context Eavesdropping below) only to be K.O.'d by Kanako. Later, at a meeting to discuss her possible eviction, she adamantly refuses to accept responsibility and instead challenges Keitaro to a duel, only to lose her temper after he breaks her weapon and continue to attack even after being disqualified, after which she gets K.O.'d by Keitaro. Afterwards, she is not only evicted from the Hinata House, but her family is so disgusted by her actions that they elect to ban her from using their techniques and banish her from their family completely until they feel she has learned her lesson.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick:
    • Gaz, in Thailand, both to Seta during the archaeological expedition and to Keitaro after the younger man is made the lead in the rescuing Sarah mission.
    • Kanako, to Keitaro in Tokyo as assistant manager of the Hinata-sou. Keitaro has referred to her as his hatamoto (trusted feudal retainer/bodyguard) compared to Haruka being his trusted family advisor.
    • Nyamo, to Sarah. Smarter than she lets on with a photographic memory and a skilled physical fighter.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: While in Thailand, Keitaro had kill with knife and rifle from behind, torture people for information and then dispose of/kill them, and while in Roanapur engage in killing and maiming to maintain his cover and to escape the city in the end. All of these actions still haunt Keitaro, even if they took place against criminals and pirates.
    • In contrast, Keitaro does not really feel guilty about crippling and maiming the gang members he has fought, both at the park to save Kanako and at the train station to rescue Naru. He does feel guilty about killing the gang leader with the knife hand throat strike, only because it was accidental even if it was excusable/justifiable.
    • What Keitaro feels the most guilt is for something he promised that he wound up not having to do - killing Sarah in case he was not able to save her from the slavers.
  • I Gave My Word: Lets look at the promises given by Keitaro Urashima. Some of them are indefinite, a couple may conflict with each other.
    • "When we grow up, we will go to Todai together, and live happily ever after." - to the Promise Girl.
    • "I will always protect and love you." - to his adopted sister Kanako.
      • "One day we will inherit and run the Hinata-sou together." - to Kanako.
    • "I will come back home. Whatever it takes." - to his Granny Hina.
    • "I will get Sarah back. (from the /pirates/slavers) Whatever it takes." - to Seta after the pirate raid.
    • "If I can not get Sarah back and if I have a clean shot, I will not leave her to suffer." - to Seta.
    • "I will do my best to survive this mission, so long as it does not interfere with my previous promises about Sarah." - to his partner Gaz.
    • The dark side of this was when Keitaro promised the teen pirate that had taken part in kidnapping Sarah that he would let him go if he gave him the information he was seeking. After he got the intel the pirate was shoved into the path and under the wheels of a large forklift.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Keitaro, twice. The first time was in the beginning of the story right after Keitaro read the letter from Granny Hina making him heir of the Urashima clan and manager of the Hinata-sou; Haruka gave him some souchu at her teahouse. The second time was when Keitaro bought a bottle of sake from Kitsune and drank most of it when he gave Haruka and Kanako an (edited) account of what happened during his time in Thailand and Roanapur.
  • Innocent Bigot: Thanks to her aunt, Motoko sincerely believes that sex could never be pleasurable for women and it simply exists to sate men's desires and produce children. Kotoko makes sure she is VERY disabused of that notion.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Yuri. After being fatally wounded during the island pirate raid, he refuses medical treatment beyond first aid and insists on being left behind on the island when Gaz and Keitaro take a wounded Seta to medical treatment and to find a pirate suspect on another island. Yuri writes notes to Gaz, Keitaro and Seta saying this. He says goodbye face to face to Nyamo and Gidget (apologizing to the tortoise for being so rude to her), and sits on the beach smoking and watching the sun rise before finally passing away from his wounds.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: After the pirate raid that resulted in Sarah being kidnapped, Keitaro and the rest are stuck on the island for 12 hours because the tide had gone out and their boat was beached above the waterline. By the time Keitaro and Gaz get off the island and to the port their only known suspect was last seen, they are more than a little desperate, as they have anything ranging from four days to four hours to recover Sarah before she is gone forever. When Keitaro finally catches the pirate after a footchase and a hand to hand fight in a shipping container yard, the pirate refuses to answer his questions. Keitaro at first presses against the pirate's previously broken jaw with the flat of a knife blade, and when that does not work, pins the pirate face down to the ground and starts breaking his fingers and grinding the broken pieces together. After a lot of screaming and four broken fingers, the pirate finally gives up the needed information. Once everything is done, Keitaro lets the pirate go...pushing the pirate off a stack of shipping containers to the ground below, to be run over by the wheels of a very large container moving forklift.
    • After kidnapping a Russian sex trafficker and pedophile, Gaz and Keitaro waterboard (simulate drowning) the man until he breaks and gives them the information they are seeking.
  • Kill It with Fire: The NATO military response to supernatural summonings. After losing men to beings not affected by explosives or gunfire, and discovering that incendiary weapons worked to a certain extent, NATO set up the Lightbringer Protocols. Should a supernatural summoning in progress or already completed be found, the soldiers were ordered not to interfere but to call for a massive airstrike with incendiary white phosphorus and fuel air bombs. This would be done even in urban areas and/or areas with non-combatants.
    • Special Ops vet Gaz was ready to carry out a smaller version of this when Keitaro did a summoning during the Viking funeral; he had his pistol out and aimed at Keitaro's head until he was sure the younger man was not possessed.
  • Killer Rabbit: Motoko begins to see both Keitaro and Kanako as this.
  • Kindness Is Not Weakness: Keitaro is friendly, polite, and a caring big brother figure. He will also beat up, torture, and kill in cold blood as necessary anyone who threatens or harms someone he cares about.
  • Knife Nut: Haruka carries around a butterfly knife that she's quite skilled with.
    • Keitaro is implied to be one when it is mentioned that he can't twirl a butterfly knife without looking like a thug. In Thailand he killed a pirate during the island raid by cutting his throat from behind. In Roanapur he kills a criminal with a knife in public who was threatening him in order to maintain his cover.
    • Nyamo Namo carries a fishing knife concealed in her waistband under her shirt. She has used it to defend herself to devastating effect. Nyamo was taught by her late grandfather, who in turn learned from old school Filipino Escrima knife fighters. In a spar with Gaz, he did not take her seriously at first. That changed very quickly.
      • Nyamo has taught Sarah some Escrima, which is notable because Escrima starts with sticks and knives and then moves up to bare hand fighting. Justified in that learning the basic knife fighting attacks and defenses ingrains the movements into muscle memory, which can then used with empty hands.
  • Lovely Angels: Miyuki and Natsumi have taken the Les Yay from their own series and run with it; they are partners both professionally as police officers and romantically. Then they were asked to give some firearms training to Keitaro Urashima and things took off from there.
    • Miyuki and Natsumi have referred to themselves this way when they sent an email to Keitaro containing racy pictures.
  • Mama Bear: Though not really Keitaro's mother, Haruka nonetheless fits the bill in chapter 6 when a berserk Naru is trying to assault a stunned and disabled Keitaro for accidentally seeing her in her underwear. Haruka, after failing to physically restrain her, threatens her with a butterfly knife and explicitly threatens to use said knife on Naru if she doesn't back off; this shocks Naru out of her rage. Afterwards, Haruka admits to Keitaro that she didn't want to do so, but would have done it to protect him.
  • Mercy Kill: Seta makes Keitaro promise to kill Sarah if he can't rescue her from the slavers.
    • Feudal ancestor Taro Urashima has referred to this as the gift of mercy. This term was also heard by Yukiko when she was watching some of Keitaro's memories.
  • More Dakka: Invoked by the pirates on the raid on the expedition in Thailand, who fire their assault rifles full auto. Averted by Keitaro, Gaz, and Yuri, who as trained shooters limit themselves to aimed single shots and short bursts from their rifles. Also invoked by the low level mooks and goons in Roanapur, who think their weapons have two settings; More Dakka and I Need To Reload. Averted by the really high level bad guy/gal shooters. Massively invoked by both sides during the Great Escape from Roanapur.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Motoko has this initial reaction in chapter 15 when she discovers that she attacked Keitaro over a misunderstanding.
    • Ignored Epiphany: Unfortunately, it devolves into this when, during a meeting to discuss whether or not Motoko will be evicted, Motoko states she does not regret her actions and instead declares that Keitaro is to blame.
  • Named Weapons:
    • Shisui (Stopping Water) - Motoko Aoyama's sword. A katana with shirasaya (white wood sheath and handle with no hilt) mountings. Used in Motoko's ki attacks as well as normal physical attacks. Currently held by Tsuruko Aoyama, who hopes to return it to her sister when she is allowed to practice the family sword style again.
    • Juuchi Yosamu (Ten Thousand Cold Nights) - The Urashima Clan Honor Sword. Also known as the Hina Demon Blade, and the Blood Drinking Sword. A katana with a darkened blade with white flecks resembling the winter night sky. The handle is black sharkskin with dark blue silk wrapped over it with a plain round black iron hilt. The sheath is covered with black cracked lacquer showing red wood beneath which resembles dried blood. Forged by the legendary swordsmith Muramasa, who had a reputation for madness that passed onto his work. Said to have a demon sealed inside that can possess it's wielders and cause them to go insane with bloodlust and commit murder and/or suicide. Only when the sword accepts it's user AND it is fed blood will it allow itself to be used and sheathed. Cutting oneself with the blade can allow the demon in the blade to take possession of the wielder. Can be used to project and amplify Killing Intent, a spiritual energy attack that can cause opponents and bystanders to freeze in terror. Currently in the possession of Keitaro Urashima.
  • Names to Run Away From / Meaningful Name / I Have Many Names: Keitaro uses a cover name during the rescue mission, but some other names are hung on him as time goes on.
    • Hiroyuki Akira - Keitaro's alias while in Roanapur. The ideograms used are great, snow, and bright.
      • Yukiko no Yamamiya - The yuki-onna that has been involved with the Urashima Clan since feudal times. The name translates to Snow Child of the Mountain Palace.
    • Rock's Evil Twin - Dresses in business attire like Rock, the two are both Japanese and roughly the same age and build, but Keitaro is MUCH more willing to use violence.
    • Ice Man - Keitaro uses ki projection to intimidate people, which feels like a blast of ice cold moist air, which is very disconcerting in tropical Roanapur. If you have ever been in a walk-in freezer or a morgue it is stronger than that.
    • Demonio (Demon in Spanish/Italian) - Keitaro gets his Berserk Button pushed hard by some video clips of Sarah while in Roanapur, and it results in him going out at night during a tropical storm. He does not know exactly who is holding Sarah so he can not go after them, but he has been having a mini-gang war with a criminal group that keeps trying to kill him. Keitaro goes to their HQ and finishes the war that night. The last bad guy simply says Demonio to the people who found him before dying.
  • Never Mess with Granny: In the canon series Hina is known as the Demon of Hinata. In this story Hina has taken it up a notch or two. Not only has she sparred with a full group of Aoyama students (both armed with bokken and unarmed) using only tai chi and winning, Tsuruko, a Lady of War and Master Swordswoman, has told her sister Motoko that it would give her very serious pause to fight Hina. The police officer that was beating on Keitaro in Chapter 23 found this out the hard way when Hina stormed the interrogation room and threw him into the far wall, knocking him out.
  • Never My Fault:
    • In the opening chapter, Naru calls Keitaro out for knocking out Motoko. However, as Keitaro points out, Motoko was attacking him with the intent to kill and he was only defending himself.
    • After attacking Keitaro over a misunderstanding (see Out-of-Context Eavesdropping below), Motoko adamantly refuses to take responsibility for her own actions and instead blames Keitaro, the victim in the whole situation, for everything, electing to challenge him to an honor duel which ends badly for her.
  • No Sell: Keitaro does this to Motoko's Evil Cutting Blade attack during their duel, pointing out that it only works on those with actual malicious intent.
  • No Quarter: Gaz confirms this to be the rule for dealing with pirates attacking the expedition they are protecting; any armed person, even if not firing at them (the expedition members) is considered a valid target. Any person assisting armed persons, even if not armed themselves, are also considered valid targets. No prisoners are to be taken (except for interrogation purposes and then dealt with); the contractors can not safely handle prisoners for long nor turn them over to the corrupt police.
    • The rescue mission to recover Sarah is run under this rule as well; the contractors can not risk the kidnappers finding out they are chasing after them and either disappear or kill Sarah, nor risk a possible counterattack by the criminals.
  • Noodle Incident: The incident in Roanapur is not explained in detail until chapter 32.
  • Nosebleed: Kitsune gets one when Su reveals she read hentai in chapter 34.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Kitsune is dismayed to find out that Keitaro is completely immune to her sexiness and will not suffer her foolishness at all. She quickly shapes up.
  • Oh Crap!: Keitaro has one of these when he realizes that one of the pirates that kidnapped Sarah was the local teen that had previous gotten her drunk and tried to take her before Keitaro caught up with them and broke the local's jaw with a punch. In Keitaro's mind this means that the pirate raid taking place may very well be revenge for the broken jaw, resulting in Sarah being deliberately targeted and Seta and Yuri being seriously wounded, fatally in Yuri's case.
  • Older and Wiser: The author has aged up the younger members of the cast; Motoko is now seventeen, Su and Shinobu are fourteen, and Sarah is also fourteen.
  • Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: Motoko overhears Kitsune talking on the phone with Haruka about how Keitaro saved Naru from getting kidnapped at knife-point by a gang, and Keitaro is currently with the police talking it over. Having only heard Kitsune's side of the conversation, and already fully prepared to believe the worst in Keitaro as it is, Motoko automatically assumes that Keitaro had assaulted Naru and attacks him with her sword when he returns to the Hinata House, only to get T.K.O.'d by Kanako in retaliation. When Motoko comes to the next morning, she meets her sister Tsuruko, who wastes no time in chewing her out for jumping to conclusions so quickly based on what little information she heard, let alone not bothering to check with Kitsune.
  • Photographic Memory: In chapter 37, Nyamo was able to memorize the sixteen digit security code of Su's lab after seeing Su type it in only once.
  • Police Brutality: As detailed in chapter 23, Keitaro saved Kanako from being kidnapped and nearly sold into sex slavery, killing one of her captors in the process. Because of this, and also because Kanako had been drugged and was in no shape to verify what had happened, Keitaro was arrested as a criminal suspect, with the two arresting officers variously accusing him of either being a rival gang member or simply a crazed martial artist, before the lead investigator brutally beat him when he got tired of Keitaro's denials. When Hina got wind of it, she quickly went down to the station with a very senior police official, threw the senior cop across the room and knocked him out, and pulled Keitaro out of the station; the more violent of the two who beat him was promptly dismissed, while the other was permanently demoted to traffic cop.
    • When Natsumi (a Tokyo police officer) arrests drunk drivers that cause bystander injuries, the offenders tend to accidentally slam their heads against the police car door frame or trip and fall down stairs while their hands are handcuffed behind them. Her superiors do not say anything about this unfortunate tendency.
  • Polyamory: Keitaro, Miyuki, and Natsumi. Notably, Miyuki and Natsumi were already romantically involved when they fell in love with Keitaro and Keitaro loves the both of them equally.
  • Power Limiter: When Keitaro was trained in chi usage in his youth, it was discovered that he had too much to be used with any fine control. Seals were placed on his inner forearms, limiting the amount he could use at any given time to 20%. Overcharging his chi to perform a shumpo jump almost caused his chi system to burn out. Keitaro later loosened the seals so he can use his chi capacity in 25% increments. Usage over 75% capacity is dangerous; usage over 100% (maximum safe limit) is possible but potentially fatal.
  • Precious Photo: Just before Keitaro leaves for Roanapur he burns his pictures of Miyuki and Natsumi. Gaz tells Seta "Where he (Keitaro) is going, he does not want them to follow."
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: In chapter 17, Tsuruko accuses Motoko of being such, calling her nothing but a child who attacks people with overwhelming force for the flimsiest of excuses.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Keitaro doesn't allow Motoko to carry around her katana in the dorm as a deadly weapon is a safety concern, regardless of how skilled she is.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Before he loosened his seals in Thailand Keitaro strained his chi system and caused subconjunctival hemorrhages (ruptures of small blood vessels in the sclera), turning the whites of his eyes blood red temporarily; overuse of his chi renews the effect. As a result he wears his red-tinted Wayfarer sunglasses most of the time to keep people from freaking out, but also occasionally uses the appearance of his eyes to intimidate the unsuspecting.
  • Reluctant Warrior: Keitaro will usually duck, dodge and deflect at first if he is attacked. He will only immediately use crippling or potentially lethal attacks and/or weapons if someone else is in overwhelming danger. Averted during his time in Thailand and Roanapur when deadly weapons (guns and knives) are involved.
  • Samurai: The Urashima family are descendants of a feudal noble samurai clan that served the Tokugawa Shogunate as hatamoto (those under the flag), direct retainers/officals. Taro Urashima was the first to serve the Torugawa during the Sengoku Period, and because of his fatal injuries received protecting the Shogun from an assassination attempt his family was promoted to upper noble status and given a sizable land grant near Edo (modern day Tokyo). The Hinata-sou and the hill it is on is where their family keep/home was originally constructed; Hinata City around it was built on their former fiefdom.
  • Sex God: A minor version but Keitaro does a good enough job his first time that Miyuki and Natsumi's neighbors chip in to buy them a gift certificate to a love hotel so the three don't keep them up again.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Type 2 - Due to his bloodstained eyes Keitaro wore his red-tinted Wayfarer sunglasses almost all the time in Thailand (he could use chi to sharpen his vision enough to see clearly at night). The only time he would leave them off was when he was with people he was friendly with that he knew were not bothered by his eyes.
  • Survivor Guilt: Even if he does not have a full-blown case of PTSD, Keitaro has depression and nightmares due to what he saw and did in Thailand and Roanapur. Made worse by his friend and partner Gaz dying during the final escape after rescuing Sarah.
  • Shout-Out:
    • At the end of chapter 25, Keitaro defeats Motoko using the Hadoken.
    • In chapter 34, Su refers to sex as "snu-snu."
    • In chapter 41, in order to jump a 25 meter gap between stacked cargo containers while in a foot pursuit of a pirate, Keitaro risks burning out his chi system and/or killing himself and uses shunpo.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: Motoko gets sexually and romantically involved with her boss, Kotoko.
  • Smoking Is Not Cool: Keitaro disapproves of Haruka's smoking, but doesn't really make a big deal out of it.
  • Thicker Than Water: The Urashima family is very big on protecting it's own. Besides Haruka threatening Naru with a butterfly knife, Keitaro killed a thug protecting Kanako. Likewise, one of their family style's "ranks" (though noted to not be a reward or an honor) is allotted only to Urashima who have killed to protect a family member.
    • Because of this mentality, Keitaro is incensed when he finds out Motoko's punishment includes banishment from her family until she gets better on her own, instead of her family trying to help her work through her issues.
  • Title Drop: Contract Labor refers to Keitaro's official job title while working on Seta's archeological expedition; see Hired Guns.
  • A Threesome Is Hot: Keitaro loses his virginity in a three-way with Miyuki and Natsumi.
  • Token Yuri Girls: Motoko and Kotoko as of chapter 36.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Following on from the Out-of-Context Eavesdropping example above, if Motoko had simply double-checked what she had overheard from Kitsune, or if she had simply been a little less willing to automatically believe the worst in Keitaro, she would still be living in the Hinata House and wouldn't have been banished from her family.
  • Trouser Space: Motoko attempts this but fails given that she was trying to hide a sword down her pant leg.
  • Truth in Television: Sadly, most of the... things in chapter 42 are factually correct.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Keitaro. He does not show it while in Japan, but while in Thailand all his companions realize this, usually after sparring or practice shooting against him. Yuri and Sarah get to see this in action when a teen criminal tried to take Sarah, and Gaz saw this from long distance when Keitaro was fighting and interrogating the teen pirate in the container yard.
    • Taro Urashima (Keitaro's feudal ancestor) is an even stronger example of this. A low ranking samurai more interested in calligraphy, reading and writing poetry than drinking or fighting, he still manages to fight off a bandit attack by himself and walk for almost a week with little food through the mountains in bad weather to complete a mission. Taro is usually very polite and thoughtful to others; it is when his habitual half smile leaves his face that people get nervous (and start reaching for weapons). Fortunately the feudal lord Taro delivered the message to recognized his hidden qualities and transferred him to his personal staff and promoted him.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Naru is strong enough to punch through solid wood without hurting herself but only knows how to punch.
  • Viking Funeral: After Russian merc Yuri died of his wounds from the pirate raid, one of these was held. He was put in a captured boat cleaned and wrapped in his sleeping bag with his rifle beside him and his gear (minus his bequests to his friends) at his feet, and a short ceremony was held. The pyre of fuel soaked wood was ignited by Keitaro tossing a ki ball into the boat, and the burning boat was let go into the current to float out to sea.
    • Partially averted by how the surviving contractors dealt with the dead pirates; without ceremony or reverence the bodies were piled into another captured boat, fuel splashed on top of them, and the boat was hauled into the current and set loose after the boat was set on fire with a signal flare.
  • Warrior Poet: Feudal ancestor Taro Urashima was one of these. The young bushi (low rank samurai) preferred reading and writing poetry and practicing his calligraphy instead of drinking, carousing, and brawling like his fellow soldiers and they did not respect him because of it. However Taro was a skilled swordsman and warrior that was able to fight off multiple opponents by himself on different ocassions.
  • What You Are in the Dark: The reason why Keitaro risked his life by going to Roanapur in what almost everyone considers a suicide mission to rescue Sarah McDougal, a young girl who does not like or respect him, who may be already be dead or beyond recovery. As Keitaro said before he left, "I knew what I was doing when I made that promise. Even if you release me from it, I would know that I did not do my best to get Sarah back. I would have to live with myself in the dark with that knowledge. I won't. I can't."
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer: In chapter 9, Keitaro remarks to himself that this is part of Naru's problem: having been only taught how to punch and hit correctly when threatened, Naru has grown to respond to all threats, no matter how small, with violence.
  • Wretched Hive - Roanapur is a Vice City run by the four largest criminal organizations located there - the Russian Mafiya Hotel Moscow, the Chinese 14K Triad, the Sicilian Mafia and the Colombian Medellin Cartel.
    • Phuket, Thailand is known for it's entertainment district. And yes, the name is pronounced the way it looks like and describes it's view toward life.
    • Once in Roanapur Keitaro and Gaz's allies find intel about Sarah on the internet version of a Wretched Hive, the deep web (the parts of the internet that are not indexed or recorded by search engines). Some parts are deliberately hidden from casual discovery and can only be accessed through hidden encrypted servers and networks. Anything illegal, immoral or dangerous can be bought and sold through the deep web, and on a site related to human trafficking proof of life is found about Sarah... which pushes Keitaro's Berserk Button.
  • You Need to Get Laid: Su of all people says this about Naru and Motoko. In Motoko's case, it really does help.
  • Youkai: Yukiko no Yamamiya is a yuki-onna (snow spirit) that has been involved with the Urashima Clan since feudal times. When she met and was intrigued by Taro Urashima during a mountain snowstorm, she gave him a portion of her power to keep watch on him. Taro was able to use this power to protect a friend in battle. This power is passed down by blood and various ancestors have been able to use it, including Granny Hina, Haruka and Keitaro.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: Keitaro is a noticeably calm and polite person in a country full of them. However he get visibly angry once at the Hinata-sou when he finds out about Motoko's banishment, producing a Killing Intent aura. After getting his Berserk Button pushed in Roanapur an entire criminal group winds up dead.
  • Zen Survivor: Keitaro is a light version of this, in that he tries to help his tenants, only without the cryptic sayings. His most notable success is with Naru, who has a better grip on her temper. His only failure, if you can call it that, is with Motoko. He fought more harshly than needed during the honor duel so that Motoko would have a better chance of not being severely punished by her family, and it did not work. He and Kanako are still looking out for her.
    • Granny Hina is an old school version of this trope. She dropped the managership of the Hinata-sou into Keitaro's lap with no warning and no way for him to back out, with tenants that she knew would be hostile to him. Sounds familar, no...?


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/FanFic/ContractLabor