Hi. I have only recently discovered manga and have become a fan of Love Hina. After I read through the manga and watched the animes, I got to wondering: What if Keitaro's durability was a sign of divine favor? This is my first fan fiction so please read and review... and no, I'm not drunk... wait... does Nyquil count? I don't own Love Hina or the characters therein, though the late Chiune Sugihara was a real person whom I have much respect and gratitude for. The funeral and the late arrival depicted here did happen, but the events depicted here are otherwise conjecture on my part. WARNING: Flames will be used as light to read constructive criticism.
On a warm autumn afternoon in the Kanagawa Prefecture, a group of people gathered in the Rising Son Chapel to say a final goodbye to a departed friend, many of the mourners in white, the traditional color for mourning in Japan as they gathered in the chapel while Pastor Fuji Kobiaji consoled an older woman near the front. Eventually, the last of them gathered, an elderly Japanese woman accompanied by a boy in his mid-teens who had to be her grandson, his hair failing to stay in place and falling down over his glasses. They made their way to their seats, the boy trying to keep a dignified presence as he followed her, only to trip over a stray potted plant, falling head over heels into the floor, all attempts at decorum lost as he landed with a resounding thud. His grandmother merely smiled at him as he regained his feet, brushing away the random flecks of plant that clung to him. A few rows away, a girl with long hair looked over at the site of his pratfall with a disapproving look that didn't quite hide her concern as he took his seat beside his grandmother. Another girl about his age, already developed beyond her years, looked to him with a slightly addled expression on her face, her own concern still evident before she turned to face the front of the chapel once more.
A few moments later, Pastor Kobiaji ascended to the podium, opening his Bible as he looked out over the assembled mourners. "Dearly beloved", he began, "we have gathered here today not to mourn the passing, but to celebrate the life, of Chiune Sugihara. In the scriptures, Jesus Christ, the Kami Sama, our Savior, promised us that, if we would place our faith in Him, we would live forever in His paradise." Pastor Kobiaji paused for a moment, as if considering his words, looking down at the departed lying in state in front of the podium. "By becoming Born Again, Chiune did that and, even though his body no longer lives, he is more alive now than he could ever have hoped to be because of what Christ has given us. In His word, the Kami Sama, Jesus, tells us 'I am the way, the truth, and the life.' Our friend Chiune chose to follow the way Christ guides us, embrace the truth Christ presents to us, and live the life He offers us all. As a result, Chiune has lived a life that was better than he would have had and he has shrugged off the chains of this life to escape to a better life and freedom with our Lord in His Paradise."
The mourners listened to Pastor Kobiaji's words, the young man who had fallen before paying rapt attention to the eulogy he delivered. "The apostle Paul wrote that it is the Kami Sama's will for us to live and that for us to die is our gain, as we gain our reward and our place in His kingdom. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Kami Sama, gave His life for us to escape the bonds of this life, it being our Lord's will that we have the liberty that only He can give us by our being Born Again. I have had the pleasure of knowing Sugihara-San for many years", Pastor Kobiaji went on. "I know the will of God was done in his life and I am proud to call him my friend. Our Lord told us that he has prepared us a place in His kingdom, a place He gave His life to give us." Pastor Kobiaji gestured to the woman he had been speaking to earlier, an older Japanese woman who was now seated on the front row of the chapel, the widow of the man who rested in the coffin before him as his eyes fell once more. "Mrs. Sugihara… Yukiko… I know it hurts now, but I know the promise of our Lord. You'll join your husband once more, and you'll be together in the presence of our Savior forever…"
The solemnity of the service was then abruptly interrupted as dozens of men and women in dark clothes entered the chapel, many of them wearing the prayer shawls and the yarmulkes of the Jewish faith, Pastor Kobiaji falling silent as they made their way to the remaining seats, the others in the chapel turning to see who had joined them. "Gentlemen", Pastor Kobiaji began, a questioning look on his face as he addressed the newcomers, "May I help you?" "We apologize, Rabbi. We didn't mean to disrupt your service", one of the newcomers, an elderly man whose face was framed with the curls of a Hasidic Jew, replied. "We wished only to pay our respects to Mr. Sugihara." "Of course", Pastor Kobiaji replied with a confused look on his face as many of the people there looked on, mystified, at the newcomers. "You don't know", the older man realized as he looked out at the mourners. "As a young man, Mr. Sugihara helped close to 10,000 Jews escape the Holocaust while working as a diplomat for your government, defying his superiors and losing his position for our sake." Gesturing with his hands to those with him, the elderly Jew went on. "Many of us here, myself included, owe him our lives, as do those with us who are waiting outside", he finished with a smile, gesturing again, the others looking out the chapel door to see what was easily over a hundred more Jews outside, all attired in the same way as those who come into the chapel. "Then, by all means", Pastor Kobiaji invited them, "Please, join us."
The Jewish mourners came in, and it would have been almost comic if it hadn't been for the circumstances, the new arrivals lining the walls and filling the chapel to capacity, all but sitting on the laps of those already there as Pastor Kobiaji resumed his eulogy. "As our friend helped so many escape in his youth, our Lord has helped Chiune escape from death to life everlasting, depriving Death of its final victory and the Grave of its sting. It's an escape He offers to all of us as well", Pastor Kobiaji continued. "Like Chiune, our Lord gave up His position for our sake, setting aside His own godhood to become our Savior, that we would be able to escape the bonds of this life and join Him in His kingdom, to know an even greater freedom than our friend sacrificed for our new friends", he went on, indicating the newcomers before turning to Mrs. Sugihara and her children. "Yukiko, It will hurt", he told her, "but the pain you feel at losing your husband... your father... will be swallowed up in the victory of our Savior keeping His promise, that Chiune's death is not a 'goodbye' but rather a promise that we'll see each other again in our Lord's kingdom, and for that, we do not weep for his death but rejoice for his life as we bid Chiune Sugihara farewell."
"Sir", Pastor Kobiaji continued, addressing the old man who had spoken for the Jews who had joined them as he finished, "would you like to add anything?" "We traditionally offer the Kaddish and the Yizkor Prayer for the departed. May we do so?" "That sounds like an excellent idea", Pastor Kobiaji responded as he turned to Mr. Sugihara, "but it's up to his wife. Yukiko, may they?" "I think he would be honored", she replied with a smile, the older man bowing in acknowledgment and thanks as he stepped to the foot of the lectern and the casket that rested there.
"O God, full of mercy, Who dwells on high, grant proper rest on the wings of the Divine Presence", the older man began, the chanting of his voice seeming to fill the chapel as he recited the Yizkor Payer, "in the lofty levels of the holy and the pure ones, who shine like the glow of the firmament - for the soul of Chiune Sugihara, who has gone on to His world, because, without making a vow, I will contribute to charity in remembrance of his soul. May his resting place be in the Garden of Eden, therefore may the Master of Mercy shelter him in the shelter of His wings for Eternity, may He bind his soul in the Bond of Life. Hashem is his heritage, and may he repose in peace on his resting place. Amen."
"Glorified and sanctified be God's great name throughout the world which He has created according to His will", the old man continued, beginning the Kaddish. "May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon; Amen. May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity. Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen. May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen. He who creates peace in His celestial heights, may He create peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen."
The funeral ended then, the pallbearers bearing Chiune Sugihara to his final rest, interring him in the nearby cemetery, followed by the mourners, his wife and loved ones sending him on to his escape from the bounds of mortality to the freedom of his Lord as he had seen the Jews who had bid him farewell to theirs so long before. As the mourners eventually left, returning to the tasks of the living, Pastor Kobiaji turned to go, only to hear somebody call to him.
"Sensei Kobiaji-San", he began, Pastor Kobiaji turning to find the same young man who had tripped and fallen over the plant earlier addressing him. "There is something I don't understand", the young man told him as he bowed to the minister. "What is that, son?" Pastor Kobiaji replied, bowing in return. "In your eulogy, you spoke of Sugihara-San's being 'Born Again' and of that being how that he would go to Heaven", the young man explained, sliding his glasses back in place as they walked to a nearby bench. "Wouldn't the Kami Sama be pleased enough with our good works to let us into paradise?" "The Kami Sama is pleased with the good we do", Pastor Kobiaji responded, "but they alone will not gain us heaven." "Why not?" the younger man wondered as the two of them took seats on the bench that looked out over the cemetery. "Simply put, it's because we're only human", Pastor Kobiaji replied to the bewildered look on the younger man's face.
"You've heard the expression 'nobody's perfect'", Pastor Kobiaji went on, the younger man nodding in reply. "We all do things wrong, either by accident or deliberately, and ultimately, they're done against the Kami Sama, so we need His forgiveness. In addition, any good works that we could do to get into Heaven would have to be perfect which, no matter how good our intentions or how well we did them, would not be good enough because we're not perfect." As he went on, Pastor Kobiaji could see the understanding on the younger man's features. "Now, the Kami Sama knows that, and He wants us in Heaven with Him, so He, like Sugihara-San, gave up His place in Heaven and, as Jesus Christ, performed that perfect Good Work for us, giving up His life for us, so that, by asking Him, we could enter Heaven. It's the promise He has made to us and he has always kept it", Pastor Kobiaji finished, the younger man deep in thought. "Is that something you would like to do?" Pastor Kobiaji asked him after a moment, "I think I would, Sensei", the younger man replied.
Clasping his hands together, the younger man bowed his head, Pastor Kobiaji bowing beside him as the younger man prayed. "Kami Sama, I have made mistakes, and I ask your forgiveness for the times I've wronged you. I ask now that you let me take advantage of the Perfect Work you have done for us", he went on, his head bowed as his hair fell over his forehead in tousled bangs. "From now on, I will follow the Way You have for us, obey the Truth you have given us and live the Life You died for us to have the freedom you have given us."
When they finished, they rose to leave, Pastor Kobiaji reaching into his suit pocket. "This is for you", he explained, giving the card he took from his pocket to the younger man. "It's the times we have services and my phone number if you have any questions." "Thank you, sensei", he replied taking the card. "I'm just in town for Sugihara-San's funeral, however, and visiting my grandmother at her inn", he explained, indicating the elderly woman he had arrived with, who was talking to the parents of the long haired girl that had seen him fall earlier, the young girl, oddly enough, clinging to the elderly woman as she cowered away from her father and mother. "Then, I would be glad to help you find a church near your home", Pastor Kobiaji offered him. "Then I will call you soon", the younger man told him as he turned to leave. "Wait", Pastor Kobiaji called to him. "I didn't get your name." "Urashima", the younger man told him, bowing in departure, "Keitaro Urashima." "Welcome to the family of Christ, Keitaro", Pastor Kobiaji replied as he bowed in turn, the young man going to join his grandmother.
A/N: If you're interested in reading up on the deceased, Chiune Sugihara, you can find out about him on Wikipedia, and to any of his family who may read this, please accept my heartfelt thanks and gratitude for his actions. In regards to the term 'Kami Sama', my understanding is that it means 'King of gods' and I thought it might be a term the Japanese would use for Christ. I took the pastor's name from a character by the same name in McHale's Navy as a tip of the hat of sorts to those Asian Americans who fought for the United States in World War II. To any who did so and might be reading this, in some cases, it's long overdue, but thank you. If you're wondering who the girl with the long hair is, her name starts with an "N", the other girl with the addled look still cares for her 'Kei-kun' and as for the young man... Well, who did you think he was?