A/n- Just a oneshot! That's it!

Disclaimer: Don't own SA

Summary: Another one of those 'looked back' stories. I know. Another one?? Deal.


She watched, eyes wide, as her mother walked on before her, taking long strides through the grassy brush. The woman was enveloped by the overhanging shadow of the long tunnel looming before them. She had to follow, but Chihiro paused.

Her heart hammered against her ribcage, threatening to... to...

She couldn't breath.

She couldn't move.

The wind, as if sensing her reluctance, buffeted her back with an unnatural force, trying to push her along. Goading her back to her own world. It even tugged at her sleeves, bathing her feet in a swath of gentle but firm tugging. For either her own safety or for the Spirit World's own protection it wanted her gone.

But did she want to go? No.

Don't look back, she pleaded with herself, he told you not to.

A wave of panic started to fill her chest, rising up within her throat.

"Chihiro!" Her mother called from beyond the blackness before her. "Are you coming?"

"Y-yes!" The girl called after, but the wind seemed to drown her voice; steal it away.

What will happen if I leave? She thought to herself. Will I forget it all? Forget everyone?

What will happen if I look? She thought to herself. Will I be trapped? Will I die?

But then, the thought of a life without the friends, love, she had come to know, was that not a death in of itself?

One last time, she pleaded with herself, just look one last time.

Struggling, against some force she could not name, Chihiro twisted her shoulders first, then her waist, and thrust her body back around. She overbalanced and fell, her hands flinging out in front of her instinctively. Before her she could see everything: the hills, the steps, the boy.

Instead of hitting the ground, hard, as she expected, Chihiro's arms sank through the glassy surface of the river. Tumbling, her body fell headlong into the current.

An empty blackness enveloped her, pressing in from all sides. She gasped, inhaling a mouthful of cold, biting water and, terrified, she struck out, her legs kicking.

Slowly, she stroked towards the surface, the light above her becoming brighter and brighter.

Gasping, her head broke watery veneer, arms splashing. Looking around, she saw that she had drifted nearer the shore.


The boy had already waded into the water, eyes frantic, mouth hanging open. She paddled over to him as he reached her. He grasped at her, holding her to his chest, arms entwining with hers.

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I couldn't do it! I didn't listen," her heart was racing, frantic, as she clutched at his soaked shirt.

"No Chihiro," Haku's grip tightened, his forehead resting against the girl's. Slowly, he began to pull her along towards the bank, towards safety. Looking back Chihiro saw that instead of the tunnel there was the familiar dock with light-strung boats secured to it. The small space of green grass had transformed into an expansive space of liquid black.

Her feet found the stone steps and with Haku's help she hauled herself from the dripping wet. Beside them, water trickled out of the stone frog's mouth. She watched the stream grow weak, then stop altogether.

"Chihiro..." His voice turned her attention back around; she stared at him, his eyes soft but shadowed with sadness. "I told you not to look back."

"I know, " she hung her head. "I'm sorry, but I couldn't."

Haku took her hand. "You could have been rid of this place-"

"I was afraid..." the truth of her words bringing a stinging wetness to her eyes; a lump to her throat.

"Of what?"

The light reflecting off the water rebounded into her eyes. It was easier to shut them, to not look at him. "I was afraid you wouldn't keep your promise." She peered at him and saw the look of stunned silence on his face. "I couldn't leave you." His grip on her loosened.

"Chihiro... I don't think you realize... you can't ever go back. Ever."

Despite his words she hook her head, a small smile appearing upon her lips, "I don't care Haku. I'm here, with you, where I belong."

A small smile appeared on the boy's lips. "You are an idiotic, stubborn, beautiful girl." She smiled, eyes squinting, as he kissed her swiftly.

Her heart was fluttering.

She was home.


a/n- real short! please review!