Love Hina - Remembrance

Fanfic by Steven Biggs

Prelude

There are only white clouds and blue sky visible. A gentle voice, seemingly from everywhere, speaks.

"Your burden is great, my child. You may place it aside, now."

"I cannot."

"Be at peace, it is time to rest."

"I cannot."

"I can grant you forgetfulness, so as to ease your pain."

"I do not wish to forget."

"My child, you are blameless, why do you continue to torment yourself these many years?"

"Will I find what I seek here?"

"I am sorry, my child. That one's was an untimely passing."

"Where?"

"To that place between, whence all go who pass before their purpose is fulfilled."

"Send me there."

"I will not, my child."

"Then end my existence, please. Eternity is meaningless if I am to be alone."

"My precious, precious child, I know your pain. It also is a part of me. But sadness is not allowed here, you must place your burden aside."

"I cannot."

"I understand, my child. I shall grant you a wondrous gift. It will allow you to release your burden."

"Thank you."

"Before you accept my gift, I must warn you. All that you now are will disappear into the mists whether or not you succeed."

"Nevertheless, I thank you."

"Then go with all my love, my child."

Sunday Evening, February 13th

Last Friday, Naru left to visit her family for the weekend.

Keitaro is taking his nightly walk. There is light breeze and snow begins to fall.

"(I like watching the snow fall. I really wish Narusegawa could share this with me.)"

He spreads his arms and spins around.

"(I can't believe that she agreed to go out with me Monday night!)"

He stops and takes a notepad from his pocket.

"(Let me see, did I forget anything?)"

"Restaurant reservations? Check!"

"A red rose for the table? Check!"

"A bottle of champagne? Check!"

"A box of her favorite chocolates? Check!"

"(Good! All that is left is to pick up the Lido-kun pin I'm having made for her. The jeweler said it would be ready Monday afternoon. I'll have to pick it up on the way to the restaurant. That will work great, since Narusegawa said she will meet me at the restaurant after her train comes in.)"

As he walks along, he sees a very old woman with a large load on her back walking towards him.

"Excuse me ma'am, may I help you with that?"

He looks at the woman. She seems sad and lonely. Upon seeing him, a gentle smile spreads warmly across her face.

"You are very kind, young man. It would be nice if you could take my hand, for a little while."

Returning her smile, Keitaro holds his arm out for her. She rests her arm in his. They continue walking slowly.

"You do like the falling snow, child."

"Am I that easy to read? Yes, it is beautiful, especially when I'm in good company."

The old woman blushes lightly.

"You are a very charming young man. Your girlfriend must love you very, very much."

Keitaro places a hand on his head and laughs nervously.

"Well, she really isn't my girlfriend. I'm lucky sometimes if she even speaks to me!"

"Do not be so modest. I am sure that you are always in her heart."

He blushes.

"I would be so happy if that were true. But I don't think that I will ever be good enough for her."

"Why would you think that?"

"Well, I'm not really that smart, and I am always making mistakes that make her mad."

"Do you love her?"

Keitaro hesitates.

"Is there something wrong child? I am sorry if I am embarrassing you."

"No, not at all! It's just that I'm afraid she would never return my love for her."

The woman laughs softly.

"If there is anything that I have learned in my long life, it is that all you need is love. The rest seems to take care of itself."

"You must have had a wonderful life with the man you love."

"Ah my dear young man. My love was taken from me many, many years ago."

"I'm so s-sorry!"

"Do not be. I have been able to find a measure of happiness over the years. I had many dear friends to pass the years with, and our memories never faded. They were always there for me when the sadness returned."

Keitaro looks down at her.

"Even though it happened a long time ago, I wish I could have been there to help."

She gently pats his arm.

"Thank you young man. You seem to always be thinking of the happiness of others. I am sure that your "friend" cherishes that."

"Well, ha ha, I don't know . . . . ."

They walk together in silence for a while.

"Oh, here we are. This seems much too soon to part our company. Thank you again for helping an old woman."

Keitaro bows formally.

"I was honored to assist a beautiful maiden in distress."

"Thank you for your kind words. From anyone else those would just be words to an old woman. But I can see that in your eyes I am your 'beautiful maiden'."

The old woman gives him a quick kiss on the cheek.

"Take care Keitaro. And do not give up all hope. Love lasts forever. Good night."

Keitaro turns and walks back to Hinata-sou.

Monday Afternoon, February 14th, Valentine's Day

Keitaro is in the jewelry store picking up the present for Naru. He checks his watch.

"(Oh no! I'm gonna be late! I'd better hurry and get to the restaurant. Narusegawa would never forgive me if I'm not there waiting for her!)"

Keitaro runs out the door. Not waiting to check the light, he starts to dash across the street.

A second later, a delivery truck comes rushing around the curve, bearing down on Keitaro. He freezes in shock.

Keitaro feels an impact. As he looks up, he sees the old woman. She has flung her body against his, pushing him to safety.

Wheels screeching, the truck crashes into the old woman. Keitaro hears the awful sound of her frail body being crushed. He rushes to her side.

"MA'AM!!!"

Even in her pain, she smiles up at Keitaro. He gently takes her in his arms.

"Please, hang on! Help is coming!"

She whispers to him.

"Keitaro."

Tears start to pour from his eyes.

"Why! Why did you do that?"

"Because, you have yet to fulfill your purpose."

"I d-don't understand."

The old woman starts to go limp.

"Never forget, love is forever!"

"Please, don't go!"

"I must, my gift is spent."

"But, I, I never learned your name."

"My dear Keitaro, you already know my name. Please, give this old woman the gift of one last kiss."

As if saying goodbye to someone who has always been dear to him, Keitaro leans down and kisses her.

"Thank you, my dear Keitaro."

"But, your name?"

The old woman's body starts to disappear into the mists. Before he completely loses her, she says her name.

"Narusegawa Naru."

Keitaro runs out the door. However, before dashing across the street, he feels as if someone is warning him to stop. A second later, a delivery truck comes rushing around the curve.

"Oh my goodness, that was close! I'd better be more careful. Narusegawa may have to wait a little bit. I hope she doesn't get mad."

He waits patiently for the light to change.

At the restaurant, he finds Naru already waiting at their table.

"I'm sorry Narusegawa! I'm so sorry that I'm late!"

Naru smiles at him she slides a glass of the champagne towards him.

"That's okay. I would rather that you be a little late then to maybe be hurt trying to rush."

And in a whisper only to herself, she adds:

"I would rather give up my eternal soul, than to lose you Keitaro."

Epilogue

There are only white clouds and blue sky visible. A gentle voice, seemingly from everywhere, speaks.

"Be happy and enjoy a long life, and eternity, together my children."

The End.