Chapter 7: Private Meetings and Private Issues

Although Lin wasn’t eavesdropping anymore, she was still close by so she could get the scoop on what happened between her human friend and the river spirit. She would get Chihiro to talk even if it killed her.

“There probably in there right now confessing their undying love to each other.” She muttered. “How romantic. Wait, did I just say romantic? Uh! I need to get out of this lovie-dovie atmosphere.”

The sound of footsteps caught Lin’s attention. Chihiro came running around the corner. Lin immediately went on the attack.

“Ok girl, start talk…” She trailed off as she saw tears in Chihiro’s eyes. “Chihiro? What?”

The human girl didn’t even seem to notice her as she ran by, leaving a very confused Lin behind.

“Huh? What just happened? That darn river spirit! What did he do now? I’ll break his neck.”

A moment later, Haku came running around the corner.

“Chihiro, wait come back!” He spotted Lin. “Lin, did Chihiro come by here?”

Lin narrowed her eyes. “Yeah, she went that way.”

Ok, thanks.”

He started to run by her, but Lin grabbed him as he passed.

“Oh no you don’t.” she snapped, pulling him back. “When she ran by she was crying her eyes out. What did you do to her, dragon?”

Haku didn’t have time for this. He needed to fix his mistake. “Nothing, it was just a misunderstanding.”

“Don’t give me that!” Lin cried angrily, starting to draw attention. “You tell me what you did right now; unless you want me to beat you up now and ask questions later. AND WHAT ARE YOU ALL LOOKING AT?” The spirits that had stopped to watch the scene immediately went back to work. Lin turned back to Haku. “Well?”

“Lin, I’ll tell you later. I have to-”

“No, you’ll tell me now! If you go after her now you’ll probably make things worse. Now tell me what happened.”

“Lin…”

“You could have told me by now!”

Haku clenched his fist. This crazy spirit wasn’t going to let him pass until she got what she wanted.

“Fine, Chihiro and I were talking. Her contract with Yubaba came up and I said how it was going to be hard to break the contract again. She said that she wanted to keep her job and stay here and I explained how she couldn’t since she was a human. Then she got all upset and ran off. Can I go now?”

He started to run off again, but Lin held him back. “No, you can’t go. You stupid dragon, what where you thinking telling her that?”

“But it’s true.”

Lin smacked her forehead. “I know, but you don’t tell her that during your first meeting in 12 years. What is wrong with you? Men, they always mess everything up.”

Haku glared at her. “I’m trying to fix this.”

“No, you are going to dig yourself in deeper! I’ll talk to her first. She’ll need some female support.”

“But-”

“No buts!” Lin shouted, getting everyone’s attention again. “She might not want to see you right now. Grr. Never mind. I’ll yell at you later. I gotta find her.”

She stormed off, leaving Haku behind with a room full of curious spirits.

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Chihiro returned to her room and sat on the balcony. Looking out at the calm water always seemed to make her feel better. She was trying not to think about what had happened between her and Haku. That was not how she thought their reunion would be like. True, she hadn’t didn’t know how it would go, but she didn’t think it would be like that. After 12 years she finally saw the one she loved again and the first thing he brings up is how to get rid of her. Was she really just a nuisance to him?

‘But he said it wasn’t like that.’ She reminded herself.

She began crying again. Stupid Haku. Why did he have to go and ruin what should have been a happy moment?

“Chihiro? Chihiro, are you in here?”

That was Lin. Chihiro recognized her voice. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to talk to anyone right now. Lin would insist though.

“Chihiro, where are? Come out and- oh, there you are.” She came up and sat beside her. She saw that Chihiro was really upset about what happened. That darn dragon. She will be sure to give him a real good talking to later. “Hey, you ok?”

Chihiro buried her head in her knees. “Haku hates me.”

“Say what?”

“He wants me to leave. He said so himself. He can’t wait to get rid of me.”

Poor girl. Lin wrapped her arm around her and Chihiro leaned into her as she continued to cry.

“Hey now, you know that’s not true.” She said. “Haku doesn’t hate you at all. He cares for you more than anything.”

“Well he has a real funny way of showing it!” Chihiro snapped, sounding more angry than sad. “If he cares about me so much, then why does he want to get rid of me?”

“He doesn’t.” said Lin. “He’s just trying to do what he thinks is best. He thinks you’ll be better off with your own kind back in your world with your family and friends.”

“You guys are my family and friends.” Chihiro whispered. That made Lin tear up, but in a good way. She quickly pulled herself together.

“Don’t get all mushy on me now.” She said, trying to sound like she didn’t care. “Come on, where’s that tough girl that faced that volcano spirit yesterday?”

“She had her heart broken.” Chihiro muttered.

Lin forced down her anger. Oh how Haku would pay. “Men, they can’t do anything right. Come on, perk up. He’s not worth your tears.”

“I love him, Lin.” Chihiro whispered.

Lin froze. She looked down at Chihiro in surprise. So she admitted it. Everyone at the bathhouse knew how Haku and Chihiro felt about each other, even the little brat Bôh knew, but Chihiro had just now openly admitted it. Now if she could only tell Haku.

“Listen Chihiro, Haku wasn’t trying to push you away.” She said. “He wants you here more than anyone else. He really does care about you. He cares so much that he’s willing to never see you again if it means that you’ll be happy back in the human world.”

“But I wasn’t happy!” Chihiro shouted. “Can’t he understand that?”

“He can.” Lin replied. “But he doesn’t want you to do anything without thinking. Seriously Chihiro, are you really willing to never go back to your world?”

“Yes, I am!”

Lin stared at her a moment, realizing for the first time how much trouble it would be to get her to return to the human world when the time came. Haku hadn’t exactly broken the news to her the right way though. And now she had to comfort her friend. But how would she feel when she discovered that she would side with Haku in the end. Lin didn’t want Chihiro to leave, but it was for her own good.

‘I’ll worry about that later.’ Lin decided. ‘Right now she needs me to be on her side.’

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‘You stupid idiot! How could you say those things?’ Haku scolded himself. ‘What was I thinking? She must hate me right now. But I was only trying to think what was best for her. Doesn’t she know that I’ll do anything to make her happy? Even if that means being separated from her by different worlds?’

After he had time to think, he realized what a fool he had been. Lin was right, he did really mess things up. Now he needed to make them better. He had to make Chihiro understand that he wasn’t trying to push her away, he was merely trying to do what he thought was best for her.

Chihiro was a human. She didn’t understand how dangerous the spirit world was for her kind. Not only that, he couldn’t just let her throw her old life away, although she never really returned to it after her first trip here, she had made that perfectly clear. But still, she had her parents. She must have more friends than she thought. There must be several boys with their eye on her; how could there not be. The thought sent a jealous anger soaring through his body.

The door opened and Haku looked up to find Lin walking in. He immediately jumped up, eager for news on how Chihiro was doing.

“How is she?” he asked.

Lin’s response was to slap him hard across the face. Wow, she hit just as hard as Chihiro.

“That was for being such an idiot!” Lin scolded him. “You really upset her, you know. She thinks you don’t like her and want to get rid of her as quickly as possible. I can’t believe you.”

Haku hung his head. That was what he was afraid of. How could he make this better?

“But to answer your question, she’s doing much better now, although she is still upset.” Lin told him.

“Is it, uh, safe to see her?” Haku asked cautiously.

Lin nodded. “Sure, just think before you speak.” She warned.

Haku nodded. “Yes, I will. Thank you, Lin.”

Lin humphed and turned her head away. “Yeah, whatever.”

Haku turned to leave, but before he did, he needed to make one thing clear. “Lin, just so you know, we all need to have a talk about Chihiro. We need her to understand that, regardless how she or any of us feel, she has to return to her world.”

He left the room. Lin dropped her tough girl act and hung her head sadly. “I know.” She whispered, fighting back tears.

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Chihiro waited in her room, impatiently pacing back and forth. She was no longer upset, now she was angry at Haku for ruining their reunion. Perhaps a matching red handprint on his other cheek was in order, if Lin hadn’t done it already, that is.

“He better come.” She growled under her breath.

She had waited a long time to see Haku again and darn it she was going to get a real reunion. But he was going to be the one to come to her and apologize.

There was a knock at her door, making her jump.

“That better be him.” She muttered. “Who is it?”

“It’s me.” Came Haku’s voice. “May I come in?”

Chihiro decided to let the river spirit sweat a little longer. “I don’t know, I’m still a little mad at you. You weren’t exactly all that nice during our last little chat.”

“I know.” Haku replied through the door. “I came to apologize. Can you open the door so I can do it properly?”

Chihiro folded her arms. “I can hear you fine from there. Start apologizing.”

“Please, Chihiro. I didn’t mean what I said. I don’t want you to go. I was out of line. Please forgive me.”

Chihiro sighed. How could she stay mad at him? She couldn’t. But she could pretend she was. She opened the door for him, trying to keep her angry face on. She found him standing in front of her with an angry red handprint on his cheek. So Lin had gotten to him after all.

“That depends, do you still want to send me away?” she demanded.

“Chihiro, I never wanted to send you away, nor will I ever want to. I was just trying to do what was best for you.”

Chihiro felt her anger returning and suddenly her fake angry face wasn’t that hard to keep on. “I think I know what is best for me, thank you very much.”

‘No, because you don’t know everything about this world.’ Haku thought. But there was no way he was going to say that. “I’m sorry. I don’t want us to fight. Can we just pretend that our last meeting didn’t happen and start over?”

Chihiro turned away from him. “I don’t know. That would mean that we didn’t resolve our argument about you not visiting me for 12 years.”

She was teasing him now. Haku managed to smile a bit. Did this mean that she wasn’t angry with him anymore?

“Ok, not all of it then.” He said, practically begging.

Chihiro smiled, still keeping her back to him. “You’re going to have to make it up to me.” She said.

“Of course I will.” Said Haku. “I believe I have just the thing. How would you like to come to my river with me the next time I go?”

Chihiro did a double take. Say what? Did he just say what she thought he did? He was inviting her to his river? Wow, that was a real honor. Though Chihiro didn’t know it, she was the only one Haku ever made this offer to.

“Haku… I…”

The river spirit smiled. “Shall I take that as a yes?”

Chihiro was still speechless. “I… I… Are you sure?”

Haku nodded. “Of course. I wouldn’t be offering you the opportunity if I wasn’t. Unfortunately, I won’t be going back for awhile since I just made a trip, but I’m sure that you’ll still be here when the time comes.”

Did that mean that he wasn’t going to make her leave? “Haku, I’m honored.”

“No, my dear. It would be an honor to have you there.” He said. He held out his hand to her. “Now come on. We’ve got customers to attend to and a lot of catching up to do.”

Chihiro was positively beaming now as she took his hand. Everything was going to be ok after all.

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It was late and everyone was asleep. Well, not everyone. One person in particular was just pretending to be asleep. There was an important meeting tonight, and she had to be there for it.

Deciding it was safe, Lin slowly got up. She glanced at Chihiro to make sure the human was still asleep. She was. Smiling slightly, Lin pulled the covers higher over her human companion.

“I’m so sorry, Chihiro.” She whispered before quietly leaving the room.

She made her way down to the boiler room to meet with the others. She was running a little late and Haku would probably jump down her throat about it.

When she entered the room, Haku, Kamajii, Yu-bird, and Bôh were waiting for her. Lin wondered how that giant baby managed to sneak by Yubaba and get down here before she did.

“You’re late.” Haku scolded her.

Lin cut her eyes at him. “Not all of us have our own private room. Some of us have to worry about waiting for everyone else to fall asleep!” she snapped back.

She took a seat next to Bôh, who was amusing himself by playing with the little soot balls.

“Well then, let’s get this over with.” Kamajii suggested.

“Right.” Haku agreed. “Let’s at least get the obvious stuff out of the way. We all agree that as great as it is to have Chihiro back she can’t stay.”

The others nodded, although Bôh didn’t seem to agree.

“Why can’t she stay?” the giant baby asked.

“Bôh, you know this world is not fit for humans.” Kamajii pointed out.

“But I don’t want her to go!” Bôh cried, beginning to tear up.

“None of us do.” Said Haku. Him especially. “But it doesn’t matter what we want. We have to think what’s best for Chihiro.”

“But she doesn’t want to go either.” Bôh complained.

“And that’s the point of this meeting.” Said Lin. “We need to find a way to get her out of her contract and make her understand that she has to return to the human world.”

Yu-bird screeched something and flapped her wings.

“We know Yubaba won’t let her go.” Said Kamajii. “That posses a problem. What are we going to do about that? Blackmail? Bribery? A threat?”

“Maybe Auntie Zeniba can help?” Bôh suggested.

“NO!” the others cried, except for Yu-bird who merely shrieked.

“Bôh, you know how your mother and aunt get along.” Said Kamajii.

Bôh looked confused. “They don’t.”

“That’s the point.”

“We’ll only turn to her as a last resort.” Said Haku. “Getting her mixed up in this now would probably only cause more fighting.”

“Not to mention No-Face would probably get involved too.” Lin pointed out, shivering at the thought of the faceless monster. She had never really gotten over the whole No-Face incident.

“Why can’t we just let Sen stay?” asked Bôh desperately. He could be very wise at time, but he still had the mind of an infant.

“Must we go through this again?” asked Lin sounding frustrated. “You know a human can’t live here.”

“You were going to let her stay last time!” Bôh complained.

Haku sighed. It was just like his conversation with Chihiro all over again. “She wanted to leave last time. We didn’t need to worry about her wanting to stay last time. I’m sure we’ll be able to find some way to break her contract with Yubaba, but the hard part will be convincing her that leaving is the right thing to do.” It really pained him to say that.

“Isn’t her happiness more important?” asked Bôh desperately. “She wasn’t happy in her world. And you weren’t happy without her around, Haku.”

Haku visibly winced. It didn’t matter what he wanted. Yes, he wanted Chihiro to stay with him more than anything, but not as much as wanting to see her happy and healthy.

“It doesn’t matter how I feel.” He said. “What I want is what’s best for Chihiro.”

Lin had to struggle to stay quiet. She hadn’t told Haku or anyone else what Chihiro had said. If Haku was going to find out, Chihiro was going to be the one to tell him. She could help them along the way and give out hints, but they had to be the ones to confess their love to each other.

“Maybe Sen knows what’s best for her.” Bôh said stubbornly. He wanted to do what was best for Chihiro too, but he was on her side. If by some miracle there was a way for her to stay, he would help her find it.

“Bôh, let’s not argue about this.” Lin pleaded. “It will be hard enough convincing Chihiro. Please don’t fight us.”

Bôh folded his big chubby arms, but didn’t argue further.

“So, what are we going to do about this?” asked Kamajii.

Disclaimer: I don’t own Spirited Away. Just re-posting the story by moviefan-92

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