Spirits Within

Spirit Dancer: Welcome back, fellow readers. I've decided to keep the old version of Spirits within just incase you guys don't like this one too much. I hope you all like it. I like this so much better then the other one. Anyways, I've kept the basic plotline; the only difference is the ways in which they get to the key events are different.

Disclaimer: I do not own Spirited Away! That belongs to Hayao Miyazaki. I do however, own Kafu, Kane, and Aiko. SO please don't sue me! For I am a poor college student who does not own much…

Song Disclaimer: "Never had a Dream Come True" belongs to S Club 7 and their record company. Not me.

xXxXxXx scene change

xVxVxVx same scene, different point of view


Chpt 1 – Unexpected Meetings

Moonlight silently spilled into the dark room through the window as dark brown eyes stared out at nothing. The house was silent; the occupants had already gone to sleep for the night. So why couldn't she do the same? Why was she the one who couldn't seem to fall asleep? Maybe it was the change in the air….the feeling that something bad was happening, but she couldn't tell what it was exactly.

Everybody's got something

They had to leave behind

One regret from Yesterday

That seems to grow with time

She missed them. She missed the people that her parents had brushed off as a dream. And yet how could she accept that everything that had happened during those three days had been 

something that her sub consciousness had conjured? Somehow she knew that it had been real, and nothing her parents said or did would ever convince her otherwise. Sleep continued to elude her as she stared up at the ceiling. Nights like this were often the hardest. She would feel so lonely that her body physically ached. No matter how many people she surrounded herself with; the feeling never truly went away. No…she just buried it along with everything else that she remembered from eight years ago.

There's no use looking back

Or wondering

How it could have been now

Or might have been

All this I know, but still I can't find ways to let you go.

Why couldn't her mind just shut off? She groaned as she tossed and turned for the one hundredth time that night. Brown eyes spied the small purple band that she had set on her nightstand next to her bed before she had attempted to fall asleep. It was the single piece of evidence that what she had seen…that the people she had met and the places she had visited were real. Her parents, and the rest of the human world for that matter, be damned.

I never had a dream come true.

Till the day that I found you

Even though I pretend that I've moved on,

You'll always be my baby

She was suddenly angry. Eight years…for eight years she hung on to the promise of a twelve year old boy. For eight years she refused to date because none of the boys who asked her out came even remotely close to what he was like. And after eight years, she was sick of waiting for him. She would often walk down the steep hill behind the little blue house. She would tell herself that she was just looking for the trail that somehow always seemed to lead to a dead end. If it weren't for the hair band, the brown eyed girl might have actually believed that it wasn't real….that it was all in her head.

I never found the words to say

You're the one I think about each day

And I know no matter where life takes me to,

A part of me will always be with you.

With a growl, she sat up and looked out the window towards the forest at the bottom of the hill. Well, she was tired of waiting. She didn't care how long she had to sit there, at the end of the trail to wait for the small door to appear. She would stay there for the rest of her life if need be. She was going back. And there was nothing that her parents or anyone else for that matter could do about it. She nodded her head, and fell back against her pillows.

And finally, she was able to sleep.

xXxXxXx

The old woman sighed as she finally finished the huge stack of papers that had been set before her earlier that night. It was almost dawn. The sky was still as dark as ever, but she could feel it; the temperature slowly rising with the sun. A smirk slid across her face as she got up and turned off the little light on the small desk. It was finally time to have some fun. She sent a spell towards the door that would lock it, preventing anyone from entering. This was her key. And if anyone found out about it before she wanted them too, then she could no longer use it to maintain her reputation. Walking slowly over towards the fireplace, she muttered the words that would make the stone hearth move out of her way, the bricks revealing a long staircase that disappeared into the darkness. She sighed deeply as she slowly made her way down the stairs. If the hallway were any bigger, she'd be able to fly down. But no…she was stuck with walking. But that was the reason why she put the stairs here in the first place…..walking down all the god forsaken stairs always put her into a bad mood. The smirk widened as she continued to walk down the long corridor, lighting the candles as she went. It didn't take as long as one would think to make it to the bottom. Once she did, there was a long hallway of holding cells, with rusted copper bars for doors. All of the cells were empty….all save for one. The one that was furthest from the door, the one that was the hardest to get out of. That one was the single reason why she was down here in the first place.

"Get up." She commanded to the body within. The being didn't move. He didn't even acknowledge that she had arrived. He just sat there, body curled up into a ball, eyes staring at the dirty floor in which he sat. "Did you not hear me? I said get up!" Again silence followed the command. The boy didn't move. It was as if he was frozen to the spot. The old lady growled slightly at his disrespect. How dare he ignore her! The figure moved then, a slight upturn of the lips. He was mocking her! Her growl echoed off of the walls this time as she cast the spell that would make him come to her. His body hovered over the ground slightly, arms and legs pulled back slightly because of their bonds. Every inch of him was dirty, the revealed skin covered in both dirt and blood from the wounds he couldn't heal. Jade green eyes regarded her coolly, as if she were the one who was about to be punished, not the other way around. "You arrogant fool! You know what happens to those who mock me!" His face remained emotionless, eyes still looking at her as if she were beneath him. The old witch couldn't take that look anymore. She was temped to remove those eyes of his, which always seemed to look down on her as if she were inferior. Without warning, her finger swiped across the air again. A groan was the only this that escaped his lips as the invisible knives began to once again cut him to tiny shreds, cutting new wounds and reopening old ones.

"I should end you now, for all the trouble your worth! You pitiful snake!" The hissing sound of magic hitting flesh went on for some time, until the floor was once again stained with the crimson liquid. However, the old woman began to feel the effects of the magic and she stopped; letting the bloodied body fall to the ground in a boneless heap.

"You brought this on yourself, dragon. Do not forget that." She started to walk away, leaving the young man in the cold cell. He took slow, deep breaths as the waves of pain pulsed from his wounds. Not even a meal this time….he must have really angered her. It was funny how one look could make the old witch so angry. If he wasn't in so much pain he might have laughed. The boy struggled to get to his hands and knees, which was difficult seeing as how little energy he had. A spell was quickly muttered under his breath, and the use of magic left him more drained then he had been before. The blood from his wounds slowed until it stopped all together. If he was ever going to get out of here, he needed to stop using magic so much. Although the spells were small in nature, they still sapped him of energy and power that he didn't have to spare. He almost collapsed back onto the floor, but managed to catch himself. Maybe the green eyed boy should just sleep where he was, and not move away from the door. His body readily agreed, not wanting to move any more that the moment. Jade eyes closed slightly as he tried to move away from the door. No, he couldn't stay there….that would be too easy for him. And even though the dark haired boy really wasn't that much more powerful then him, the fool could still pause him pain. And the witch's little visits were painful enough. He didn't need to anger both of them. It took him a lot longer then it should have to drag himself back over to the wall, his aching body pressed against the cold stone. He bit down a groan as he made his body curl back into a ball. It was all he could do to try and keep warm, seeing as he couldn't use the magic spell anymore.

I'm so sorry… A wave of hopelessness flowed through him, seeming to make his wounds burn. Why couldn't he just have listened to the people who tried to warn him? Why did he have 

to be so pig headed that he thought that outrunning the old witch would work? Did he honestly think, with her reputation and power that he could ever outrun her? Yes….he thought to himself. Yes he did. That was the reason why he was stuck down here, weak and with hardly any power left. He had tried to fulfill his promise. He really did, but what he didn't anticipate was Yubaba being able to read him so easily. He had done what the little girl asked. He had broken his apprenticeship with the witch. That angered her of course, but that was nothing compared to how furious she was when she learned that the girl who had caused so much trouble for her figured out his name. He had wanted to go off on his own…find Chihiro and perhaps even find the river that he had lost. But no, Yubaba had refused. She needed him. They were heading into their busy season and Yubaba needed all the help that she could get. That was just a cover though. The jade eyed boy knew exactly why the witch hadn't let him go. She was afraid of him. Yubaba would never openly admit it, but he knew that she was. The witch wanted to keep him where she could watch him.

"Don't do it, Haku. You know that you'll never be able to pull it off, and getting yourself killed isn't going to help anyone, especially her." Oh why hadn't he listened to Rin? Why did he think that he had enough power to pull it off? He wished he had the power to time travel. At least then he could go back and talk himself out of going to the gate. His eyes shut against his will, the power from the spell still sapping him of his remaining strength. He wished that he could reach her somehow, and tell her how sorry he was.

xXxXxXx

She rushed around her room as if in a panic. Of all the days to not hear her alarm, this had to be the one. Chihiro cursed herself as she flung things into a small duffle bag. Clothes, toothbrush, socks, brush, iPod….she didn't know how long she was going to be there, if she was coming back at all. She suddenly stopped and looked around the room that she had spent the last eight years of her life in. She had already graduated high school with honors, so she no longer had to worry about that. Her parents wanted her to go on and attend a University, but Chihiro had tried putting it off as long as she could. She just couldn't stand it; she couldn't stand lying to the people who were only trying to help her. Sighing, she looked around the room for one last time, making sure she hadn't forgotten anything. Now all she had to do was figure out what she was going to tell her parents. She wasn't even sure if the gateway would be there. For all she knew, she could come across another dead end like she had all the other times. But that didn't matter. No matter how many times it took, she'd go down that trail everyday if need be. She was going back one way or another. Snagging her bag, she gently closed her door, and headed downstairs. There was the sound of dishes clanging together in the kitchen, her mother cleaning up the mess from breakfast.

"Hey mom, I'm going over to Kaiko's house, and spending the night ok?" She announced as she put on her shoes.

"Ok. Tell her mother I say hi." Chihiro nodded as she rushed out the door. She had the sudden urge that if she didn't hurry, she'd be too late. Chihiro ran down the hill, and dashed down the well worn trail. Something was different from all the other times that she had gone down the path. Voices, barely whispers on the wind told her to hurry, or else she would be too late. Despite her screaming muscles, Chihiro pushed herself faster, the forest seemed to blur as she continued to run towards the end of the trail. When she finally got there, she froze, as if not believing what she was seeing. The red plaster entrance stood there, as if it had been there all along and she just hadn't seen it. The wind blew strongly then, in the direction of the gate. Not bothering to catch her breath, she made a mad dash towards the door, nearly tripping over the small double faced statue that stood in the middle of the trail. The smells of mold and mildew instantly flooded her nose as she made her way through the building and out the other side into the dimming sunlight. She paused then, and just looked at it.

"I….made it…" She whispered, afraid that if she spoke too loud, then it would all shatter around her and she would wake to find herself only dreaming. The sky was a dark violet color as the sun continued to set. The long grass swayed in the strong breeze, trying to get her to continue on her way. Not needing to be told twice, Chihiro began to walk across the meadow and towards the multitudes of restaurants. When she reached the stairs with the frog sitting on the top, she could smell the food that her parents had fallen for all those years ago. Ignoring the sudden pain in her stomach, she made her way towards the bathhouse. Memories played through her mind as went around to the back where she knew the workers entered. When Chihiro came to the steep stairs, she took a deep breath and descended them slowly. She refused to fall like she had last time. It didn't take her too long, and when she reached the boiler room, she opened the iron door without hesitation. The temperature of the room instantly made her break into a sweat as she made her way towards the open area. The little soot balls were moving across the floor in a steady current, carrying lumps of coal that she knew were at least twice their size. The old man on the podium didn't seem to have heard her, seeing as he kept working. A squeak broke her thoughts, and soon the other soot balls joined the first, squeaking their welcome as they passed her on their way towards the fires.

"What is it, you stupid soot…." The old man trailed off when he saw the cause for all of the commotion. Well, there was a person he thought he'd never see again. The young woman looked over at him and smiled.

"Hey Kamaji." Kamaji finished the two bath tokens that were hanging in front of him hurriedly before jumping off of his podium and running over to greet her. The soot balls scrambled out of the way before coming up to where the two were standing, squeaking happily.

"I thought I was never going to see you again! Welcome back!" His six arms wrapped around her warmly and she returned the hug.

"It's so good to be back." Chihiro sighed, hugging the elderly man more tightly. She didn't have to pretend here. This world truly made her feel like she had finally come home.

"I'm sure. Did you know that-" The sound of wood sliding interrupted him as Rin made her way into the room. Physically, she looked exactly the same as she did eight years ago. The only difference was that she no longer wore the annoying pink uniform that Chihiro had always pictured her in. Instead, she was wearing a light blue kimono with white sakura blossoms that seemed to hug her curves in the right places.

"Ok, Kamaji its chow….." Her sentence broke off as she saw the girl across the room. "Sen?" Chihiro's brown eyes narrowed playfully.

"Who else would it be, Rin?" The woman seemed to be frozen for a split second before she placed the trays of food on the ground and ran across the room.

"Gods I've missed you! You have to tell me EVERYTHING!" Chihiro chuckled as she let the working spirit drag her across the room. The happy mood shattered slightly when Chihiro's hand passed through Rin's. Chihiro chuckled nervously looking at the older woman.

"Oops, forgot about that." Rin sighed and rolled her eyes as she picked up one of the stars that were in the circular bucket.

"Here…It's better then the berries that Haku gave you I'm sure…." Chihiro nodded as she popped the sugary candy into her mouth. The berries were always so bitter. Where Haku got them from she wasn't sure. Speaking of Haku…

"Hey, Rin, do you know where Haku is? I'd like to see him if I could." Despite the roar of the boilers, the room suddenly went silent. Chihiro's happy mood was suddenly shattered as she looked into the faces of her friends. Even the soot balls looked sadder now that her question had been asked."What? Why is everyone so quiet?" Rin and Kamaji shared a knowing look before looking back at Chihiro.

"Haku's been missing for over seven years." Rin told her softly, brown eyes downcast as she looked at her friend. Chihiro felt as if her heart stopped before kicking into overdrive.

"What do you mean, missing?"

"He did what you said. He broke his contract with Yubaba, and told her that he wouldn't be working at the bathhouse anymore. She figured out that he was coming to see you, and forbid him from leaving." Kamaji continued for the working spirit, his voice seeming to match his mood.

"I told him not to." Rin muttered, arms crossing over his chest. "I told him that going up against Yubaba and getting himself killed wasn't going to help anyone, least of all you." Chihiro felt the blood drain from her face.

"So you're….telling me that Haku is…" She couldn't bring herself to finish the sentence. The thought that Haku was gone, and never coming back was almost too hard to bare.

"Honestly, we don't know. Like Rin said, he had made no contact with us over the past seven years." Kamaji stated sadly. Chihiro found it hard to breathe for a moment as the words slowly sunk in. Rin sighed, as she watched Chihiro's face crumble slightly. She hated to be the barer of bad news, and then force her friend to face the very person who probably the main 

reason for her sorrow, but time was of the essence. If Chihiro didn't find a job soon, the consequences wouldn't be very good.

"Come on….I'll take you to see Yubaba." Rin gently took the human's hand and left her towards the small wooden door. Chihiro nodded slightly, and picked up her duffle bag she allowed the woman to guide her. The ride up to the witch's room was a silent one; Chihiro was too lost in her thoughts to really make a decent conversation. The news about Haku had hit her hard. The main reason that she had come back was to see him. Sure, she had wanted to see the rest of her friends, but it had been Haku who had brought her to them in the first place. She numbly followed Rin as they changed elevators, not seeing the customers and workers who recognized her, and tried to say hello. She knew she was being rude, but at the moment, the brown eyed girl really didn't care. "This is as far as I can go…" Rin's voice made her snap out of her thoughts, and she was suddenly staring into the gaudy hallway that led into Yubaba's office. Chihiro nodded and stepped out of the elevator. Before the doors closed, however, she turned and offered her friend a sad smile.

"Thank you, Rin." Rin's worried face as the last thing she saw before the doors closed, leaving her alone. Taking a deep breath, she walked to the door; wiping her face free of emotion. Remembering what happened the last time, she rammed the golden knocker harder against the door harder then she needed too.

"Do you have to be so rough?" The fake eyes glared at her before a smile slid across it's face. "Oh, look who stumbled back into a world where she doesn't belong." Chihiro simply stood there, waiting for the door to open. After a moment of silence, the door seemed to realize that the girl wasn't going to be bated by idle remarks and it flew open. Chihiro nodded her thanks, and began to walk down the hallway. Even after eight years, she still remembered where to go, and soon came across Yubaba's office doors. Even though she had really knocked, Chihiro knocked on the wooden doors. Not a full five seconds had passed when the oak doors flew open.

"Ahh, Chihiro, come in…" The room hadn't changed since the last time she had come here. The room was still richly furnished, with a large fire burning in the marble fireplace. The chairs and large area rug were still in place along with the large bookshelves that lined the walls. Chihiro walked into the room slowly, stopping when she stood a few feet in front of the large desk.

"I want a job." Her voice was steady, filled with more confidence then it had been the previous time she had been in this room. The three green heads moaned as they shuffled by the desk, large eyes looking between the girl and the witch. Yubaba smiled, the smirk making the lines on her face deepen.

"I knew you were going to say that…" Yubaba placed the piece of paper that she had just signed into a small basket. "But tell me, why should I let you work here again? The last time you worked here, you cost me a fortune that has yet to be repaid." She pointed her pen at the girl in front of her, resisting the urge to exact revenge. There were a few things she had to completely first before she made the human suffer. Taking a slow and deep breath, Chihiro bowed slightly.

"I'm truly sorry, Yubaba. It won't happen again." Yubaba's eyes narrowed as she studied the human in front of her. The brown gaze shifted over towards the fireplace before going back to Chihiro. Well, at least the girl had learned manners.

"You better make sure it doesn't." Yubaba snapped as she tossed a piece of paper and a pen over to the girl. "You know what to do…" Chihiro nodded and caught the floating paper and pen before writing her name in the allotted space. There was a momnt of silence before Chihiro handed the piece of paper back to the witch.

"Here, Ma'am…" Yubaba glared at her before looking at the paper in front of her. She hated the fact that the very girl who destroyed her bathhouse before was now working in it again.

"Ok, you're name will be Sen, just like last time." Yubaba grumbled as she reached behind her and grabbed the rope that hung from the ceiling, making it ring twice. Chihiro's eyes narrowed in confusion while resisting the urge to look towards the door. But that didn't make sense; Rin had told her that Haku was missing….

"You rang, Master?" The voice sounded so similar to his that for a moment Chihiro almost turned to look at him to make sure.

"Yes, Kafu. This girl has signed a contract, set her up with a job." She heard a shuffle of clothes.

"What's your name?" Brown eyes shifted over to the man who sounded so much like the dragon that she longed to see. He looked to be about nineteen with long pitch black hair that fell to his shoulders. Ice blue eyes seemed to pierce through her, and freeze her to the spot in which she stood. They looked so cold, just like Haku's did when she had first met him.

"Sen." Kafu nodded and something flashed within the blue orbs, but was locked away before Sen was able to figure out what it was. It almost seemed as if the man before her had recognized her simply by name.

"Alright Sen…follow me." Chihiro bowed slightly to Yubaba before following the boy out of the office. As she was heading out however, she felt like she was being watched and turned around to find the witch staring at her, a sadistic looking smile on her face. "I said follow me." The man's voice made her jump slightly as she ran out of the room to catch up with him.

xXxXxXx

Was it that time already? He no longer had a sense of time, the days and nights seemed to blend together into one. He could hear her before seeing her, jade eyes keeping their gaze on the ground and away from the monster that was making it's way towards him.

"Well, dragon. It seems like you might get your wish after all…" Yubaba muttered as she made her way towards the cell, a slow smile stretching over her wrinkled face. She had been waiting for an opportunity like this, and without even having to lift a finger; the perfect tool to break the dragon had just dropped into her lap. Haku managed to keep his face blank of emotion, but couldn't help but wonder what Yubaba was talking about. "After all, Eight years is a long time for a human. I guess she got tired of waiting for you to come to her. " Her words slowly clicked, his mind refusing to believe what she was talking about. It couldn't be….there was no possible way that she could have made it back a second time.

"She seemed sad about something, and I bet I can guess what had sent her into such a mood." Jade eyes finally shifted to look at her coolly, just like the thousands of times in the past. She knew that his cool exterior wouldn't last long. After all, she knew Haku better then he thought she did. "You broke your promise. Do you honestly think that she's going to take you back after that?" There was a sight change in the dragon's face, jade eyes hardened into a glare so quickly that the witch had almost missed it. She felt the smirk widen as she walked closer to the cell. "Humans are fickle creatures. It doesn't take much for them to forget those who have hurt them. You might want to thank me. I've given her the means in which to forget her pain." The glare remained as the silent moments passed. His body seemed to hum in joy that Chihiro had come back. But there was non doubt that Rin had already told her what had happened. Yubaba's last statement however tossed him into a sea of questions. What did she mean by that? Would Chihiro actually fall for the witch's schemes?

"Kafu is really taken with her..." Yubaba barely finished the sentence before a growl echoed off of the walls. "And I've given him the job to make sure she stays in line. If she doesn't, he can do what he sees fit to punish her. I'll let you use your imagination on that one. After all, you and him really aren't that different form each other now are you?" Haku couldn't sit still any longer. Ignoring the protests of his weakened muscles, he shot forward and if it weren't for the chains, he would have slammed right into the rusted copper bars. A growl louder then before ripped from his throat, green eyes seeming to be on fire. Large brown eyes widened in surprise as the smirk widened; the witch not seeming to care that a furious river spirit was not two feet from her with only a few copper bars separating them. "Well, it seems that you still have some spirit left in you…" She turned towards the stairs.

She chuckled as she made her way down the hallway and back up the stairs. Jade eyes closed as he tried to calm himself down. If he had even a tenth of his original power, then he could break out of this place and warn Chihiro of the danger that she was in. He prayed that she was smart enough to see through Kafu's lies. If not…..He shook his head, instantly disbanding the thoughts. He would just have to trust that she would see through the façade, and wait for him. All of the strength left his body as he collapsed to the floor in a boneless heap. The fury was still there….the very thought that Kafu of all people was watching over Chihiro, making sure she didn't 'screw up'. Knowing the bastard, he would end up getting her into trouble just so that he would have a reason to punish her. And as much as he hated to admit it, Yubaba was right. Haku knew exactly what Kafu would do if Chihiro slipped up. And he would take great pleasure in doing so. Another weak growl echoed off the walls as the dragon tried to get back to his spot against the wall. He had to find a way out of here…and he had to find it fast.


So there you have it! The first chapter. Please PLEASE tell me what you think. I know there are probably a thousand and one grammar and spelling errors, but in my defense, I tried to catch as many as I could. Flames are accepted within reason, and I hope you all know where the limit line lies.

Please tell me what you all think!! REVIEW!!