Disclaimer: I don’t own Spirited Away. Just re-posting the story by moviefan-92
Chapter 11: Thinking Things Through
The train ride was so boring. It probably would have been better had Chihiro been able to actually talk to Yu-bird. True, she could speak to her friend, but she could not understand Yu-bird’s squawks and screeches; she wondered if Yubaba could.
She spent a majority of the time thinking about what had been happening the past few days. She was so confused with everything, mostly about her relationship with Haku. She wondered where they stood. She knew she loved him with all her heart and soul, but she wondered how he felt about her. They were more than friends, she could tell that much, but how much more? Could he even feel that way about a pathetic mortal? Everyone said that he loved her, but she just couldn’t see how it was possible. Was it true that she honestly couldn’t see what was always out in the open? It sounded like something from out of a love story.
But this was not a story. This was real life, and real life was not always fair. There wasn’t always a happy ending. She hoped that she would get hers, but hoping didn’t do anything. She had to actually go and make her dreams come true. And that is what she was doing now. She desperately hoped that Zeniba would be able to help her. If becoming a spirit was the only way she could be with Haku, then she would go for it.
But even then there would be no guaranty that she and Haku would be together. Yes, she loved him, but if he didn’t return her feelings… The thought tore at her heart. But at least as a spirit she would have a chance. That is, considering that Zeniba could even help her. The golden seal did increase the old witch’s powers, but would she be able to do change Chihiro’s existence as a human to an immortal? That was the big question. But it wasn’t the only question Chihiro had. She was also confused about her so-called fortune.
Lord Okaia’s messenger had made it clear that there would be something happening in Chihiro’s future, but he left her completely in the dark about what it would be. She tried thinking back to what the messenger had said, but she couldn’t exactly remember. A lot had happened and she was having trouble comprehending everything.
According to her ‘reading’, she was going to have her trust broken by those closest to her and thus she would turn to others for help. Well that certainly happened. After finding out about her friends’ intentions to send her back to the human world, they had broken her trust, and now here she was, on her way to Zeniba’s, to get help from others. She also remembered that she would forgive her friends for lying to her, and even though she wanted to stay mad, she did find herself forgiving them.
She was also supposed to be tested by the emotions of joy, sorrow, and anger. She didn’t have a clue as to what that was supposed to mean. She would ask Lord Okaia when she met him, which, according to her reading, was supposed t happen. She gulped nervously at the idea of meeting the most powerful sorcerer in the entire spirit world. Why would a being of such power want with her anyway? Only time would tell.
“Next stop, Swamp Bottom!”
“That’s us.” Said Chihiro, relieved that the long ride was over. She got up to leave but received no response from Yu-bird. Looking over, she saw that her friend was fast asleep. She gently poked her. “Hey, Yu-bird, wake up. We’re here.”
Yu-bird slowly opened her eyes and yawned. She jumped onto Chihiro’s shoulder and closed her eyes again.
“Hey, I’m not a taxi.” Chihiro joked.
The two exited the train and made their way to Zeniba’s house. On the way, they were greeted by the bouncing lantern.
“How does it always know when someone arrives?” Chihiro asked, receiving no reply.
They reached Zeniba’s little house a short while later. It looked exactly the same as Chihiro remembered it. She couldn’t wait to see Zeniba and No-Face again and she knocked on the door a little, ok, much harder than necessary.
After a few seconds, the door opened and Chihiro and Yu-bird were greeted by a large black shadowy figure wearing a mask.
“No-Face.” Said Chihiro, happy to see her friend.
“Ah?” the monster grunted. Slowly its thin little arms lifted up and he moved forward to wrap them around his long lost friend. “Ah, ah!”
“It’s great to see you too!” said Chihiro, hugging her friend.
“No-Face, don’t hog her. You’re not the only one that’s happy to have her back.”
Chihiro’s face lit up even more at the sound of that familiar voice. No-Face moved aside to allow her entry and Chihiro was reunited with her ‘grandmother’.
The old witch, looking exactly like her twin sister, Yubaba, smiled at the human. “Chihiro, dear. It has been so long.”
“Granny!” Chihiro cried. Yu-bird fell off her shoulder as the young woman ran forward and wrapped her arms around the old witch. “Granny, I missed you so much!”
Zeniba chuckled. “I missed you too, child. Now stand back so I can take a good look at you.” She studied the ‘new’ Chihiro up and down. “My, my. You have grown into a beautiful young lady. Time really flies by.”
Chihiro’s smile decreased slightly. “For you maybe. Time has just been dragging on for me. I’ve really missed this world and everyone in it. I’ve never forgotten it. And look, I still have the hair band you guys made me.”
She turned around to show the hair band in her hair.
Zeniba smiled. “So you do. That’s good. I’m glad you kept it. Now take a seat and I’ll make us some tea.”
Chihiro nodded. “Thank you, Granny.” She said, sitting down.
Zeniba, using her magic, actually made the tea prepare itself, although she was the one that handed it to Chihiro. Then she sat down and decided that it was time for the two of them to do some catching up.
“So, my dear, tell what has been going on.” she said. “I’m curious as to how you’ve been doing. I’m also curious to know why you’re here again, not that I’m not glad to see you.”
Chihiro took a sip of her tea. When the cup moved away from her mouth, Zeniba saw that she was frowning.
“It’s a long story, Granny.” Said Chihiro sadly. “And not a very happy one either.”
Zeniba returned the frown. “I’m sorry to hear that. Why don’t you tell old Granny everything and I’ll see what I can do.”
Chihiro took another sip of tea and started explaining.
The bathhouse was a very big place, and Chihiro was probably avoiding him, so Haku didn’t really worry when he didn’t see her at all the next day. But he had to see her. He needed to talk to her, to make her understand. But at the end of the day, when neither he nor Lin had seen her, they began searching. She wasn’t in her room, nor was she in the boiler room. None of the other bathhouse employees had seen her that day either. Haku began to worry.
“She’s probably playing with Bôh again.” Said Lin.
As soon as she said that, Haku relaxed. It made sense. She was probably too upset about what had happened, but didn’t want to be alone. So he and Lin made their way to Yubaba’s office.
“And what do you two want?” asked the doorknocker rudely.
“We’re here to see Chihiro.” Said Lin, sounding just as rude.
The doorknocker snorted. “She’s not here. Go away.”
Haku glared at the doorknocker. He was thinking that Chihiro probably told the doorknocker to say that. “I don’t have time for this.” he growled. “I need to speak to her now.”
“I told you, she’s not-” Haku ignored the doorknocker and opened the door. “How rude!”
The two spirits entered the room, to find a rather irritated Yubaba. She obviously wasn’t happy about them just barging in like this.
“Yes?” she asked irritably.
“We need to talk to Chihiro.” Said Haku.
Yubaba raised an eyebrow. “So, go talk to her. You don’t need my permission.”
Haku bowed. “Thank you, ma’am.”
He and Lin headed for Bôh’s room.
“Excuse me.” Said Yubaba. “But where are you going.”
“To see Chihiro.” Said Lin.
“Well she’s not here.”
Haku’s eyes widened. He burst into Bôh’s room anyway, much to Yubaba’s surprise, and found that the doorknocker had been telling the truth.
“Where is she?” he cried desperately. He was really getting worried now. “What happened to her?”
Yubaba got up and walked over to the paranoid spirit. “What is the problem? You’re going to wake Bôh.”
“She’s not in there?” asked Lin.
Haku shook his head and Lin began panicking. The three bouncing heads watched the two spirits freak out as Yubaba tried to figure out what the problem was.
“Will you two shut up!” she snapped, keeping her voice down so she wouldn’t wake her son. “Now what’s the problem?”
“Chihiro’s gone!” shouted Haku.
“We can’t find her anywhere in the bathhouse!” Lin cried.
Yubaba’s eyes widened with disbelief. “What?” She reached out with her magic and tried to sense the human. She discovered that they were right. She couldn’t sense any humans in or around the bathhouse. “She’s not here!”
“We just said that!” Lin yelled.
Yubaba’s fists clenched and unclenched. “That human is going to get it.” She growled.
Chihiro finished her story. Zeniba had been silent through the whole thing, listening to every word the human said.
“So I came here hoping that you can help me.” Chihiro concluded.
Zeniba remained silent as she ran through everything Chihiro had told her. “My child, I am so sorry. I never would have thought you would be so affected by everything that happened. I guess our world really had an impact on you.”
Chihiro nodded and looked at Zeniba hopefully. “So, can you help me?” she begged.
Zeniba’s expression was unreadable. Chihiro was wondering what the witch was thinking. Did she have the necessary power, and if she did, would she use it.
“Chihiro, I know you think you’re making the right decision, but are you absolutely sure about this?” the old witch asked. “Have you thought about all the consequences?”
Chihiro nodded. “I have. Haku, Lin, and Kamajii don’t think that I have, but I have. I know that many spirits hate humans. I know that I’ll never be able to go back to the human world. And I know I’ll never be able to see my parents or any of my human friends again, but I’m willing to make that sacrifice. I don’t really have any real friends in the human world, and my parents and I have become so distant. I haven’t seen them in four years and we don’t talk all that much.”
Zeniba nodded, but she noticed that Chihiro didn’t seem to realize something. “I understand where you’re coming from.” She said. “But you’re only looking at this from one way.”
Chihiro cocked her head to the side. “What do you mean?”
Zeniba sighed. “You’re willing to never see them again, but how will they feel? How do you think your parents and friends will feel to never seeing or hearing from you again?”
Chihiro’s eyes widened with realization. Of course, how could she have not thought about her parents? It would hurt them to lose their only daughter forever.
She hung her head shamefully. “You’re right. I’ve been selfish. I didn’t think of them. I’m such an idiot.” Then another realization hit her. “Oh my gosh. They were right. Haku, Lin, and Kamajii were right. I didn’t think this through.”
Zeniba nodded. “They didn’t want you to make a mistake that you would regret later. And who knows what else you may think about as time goes on. If you are going to make a decision like this, you have to think about how it will affect not only you, but everyone.”
Chihiro nodded in understanding. “You’re right. I’ve been a fool. I’m so stupid!”
No-Face laid a hand on her shoulder. “Ah, ah.”
Whatever he had said, Zeniba agreed with him because she was nodding. “He’s right. You’re not stupid. You were just rushing things.”
Chihiro didn’t reply. She actually looked close to tears. Zeniba decided that she might need a minute alone.
“I’ll tell you what dear. We’ll leave you alone for awhile and let you think about this.”
Chihiro nodded and Zeniba, No-Face, and Yu-bird left the room. Chihiro thought about everything Zeniba had said. There was a lot to consider. But she realized something, her friends were right. They had been trying to help her. They didn’t want to get rid of her; they just didn’t want her to make a choice she would later regret. They didn’t exactly handle the situation in the best way, but their intentions were good. She would have to apologize to them later. But before she did that, she needed to settle her own problem here.