A/N: After watching 'Spirited Away' for the fourth time in years because I've recently found out a dear friend of mine has never watched it. This was complete blasphemy to me so I proceeded to watch it with her seeing as I had the CD and all. But once again I found myself unsatisfied with the cliff-hanger like ending and reading fellow fanfictioner's stories didn't seem to help this time around. Finally I decided to make my own alternative ending to 'Spirited Away' – after being hit by a wave of inspiration that is. (This made me realize that it had been six years since the last time I wrote anything non-school related o.O) ANYWAYS without further ado I hope you all enjoy my story.

Disclaimer: I do not own 'Spirited Away. 'Its storyline is too brilliant and heart-moving for someone like me to have ever thought of.

Italicized – Events from the movie and my own quotes regarding the river and love analogy

If Our Time Stops by Sirpil

Once the flow of the river stops it will never start again. The builders poured the landfill into the river. The once untainted glistening stream was defiled by a landslide of rocks and dirt. The river was truly a magnificent sight to behold. So was its destruction, but in a different perspective. It took three days to destroy something that was supposed to last forever.

"Will we meet again sometime?"

"Of course we will."



He Lied. He knew his river was filled up years ago; he could've never returned to the 'human' world no matter how much he wanted to. As a result, he continued to work at the bathhouse even though his contract with Yubaba had ended years ago.

He had loved her as much as a twelve year old could have. Crushes at twelve aren't meant to last forever… River sprits were no exceptions.

He let go of her hand.

She was human. And humans are fickle.

She Forgot. The hair-tie was lost when her mom threw it out while cleaning her room. She cried. She held a grudge against her mom for as long as a ten year old could possibly have. It lasted three days. How strange it felt longer than that…And so did the time she had spent with him and Rin and Kamajii and No-face and…She couldn't remember anymore, but the pain lingered. Summer ended.

She started middle school. Then 181 days passed by; more than half a year had flew by since she had last seen him. It was a miracle she even remembered him. A child's memory isn't really all that great. He was only a blurred image now – tinted with shades of green and silver. The yearning was still there but with new friends and classmates comes a new future. A future without him. 364 days.

She ran down the grassy plains. He watched her go to a place he could never be.

"Dear Journal, Who was 'him' again? No matter how much I try to think of someone who might've fit those descriptions…green colored eyes and hair seems quite unusual and impossible. But anyhow today when Miyabi and I were going to school you'll never guess who we saw! It was ---"

She had moved on and so did he.

For three weeks he was engulfed by a shadow of despair – often reminiscing of her. 181 days went by. His job of overseeing the bathhouse continued and the chaos that comes with the job distracted him. He made friends with the other bathhouse workers –no longer controlled by Yubaba his detestable air of arrogance disappeared. Well…most of it that is.

364 days. At night he often thought about a girl with a warm smile but those thoughts never made it pass the count of three. His daily jobs exhausted every ounce of his energy. Sleep came very easily to him now.

But he still remembered. Just a little bit.

She halted. She turned her head slightly, eyes eager for one last glance. But she stopped herself and continued moving forward.

545 days. The very thoughts of her have become foreign. The feeling unfamiliar.

His life was filled with laughter and jokes with his fellow bathhouse workers. Rin's scolding. Kamajji's laziness. Boh's whining. He had continued to live his life as if he never met her. Funny thing was he didn't have to pretend he forgot about her. It just happened.

When she was at the entrance of the tunnel again she looked back. Her parent's complaints about how the car was covered in leaves and dust seemed muted. Her trance seemed unbreakable.

Days became months and months became years. 11 years gone. She walked down the aisle as the song 'Here comes the Bride' resonated from the piano. This was it. She was marrying the love of her life – someone who would love her unconditionally. But there was a sudden internal tug. She stopped three feet before the steps leading up to the altar.

"Come on Chihiro! Let's get to our new home!" Her parents called. Her trance was broken. She rushed into the car and they drove away – leaving her memories of him behind. She stared at the tunnel until it disappeared from view.

'Chihiro!' whispered Miyabi – her bridesmaid. She blinked and looked up and saw her fiancé's worried expression. She smiled to reassure him that nothing was wrong. Her pause was merely a cause of her anxiety – nothing more, nothing more, nothing more.

'I now pronounce you husband and wife.'

The scenery flew by as she continued looking out the back window of the car. After the tunnel faded from view everything seemed to rush by.

13 years. For the both of them the last two years of their lives seemed to fly by even quicker than usual.

He was promoted to co-master of the bathhouse after Yubaba finally retired and gave up her position to Boh.

She became a mother to twin daughters and a son.

It had been 13 ½ years since they last met. The car lights. The screeching of tires. The screams. The crash.




That was all there was when she awoke. She couldn't seem to remember what happened – more importantly she did not have the slightest idea where she was. She started to wander. She passed by a series of empty restaurants and stopped in front of a series of steps before continuing upwards. In front of her was a bridge. As she glimpsed down from the side of the bridge she saw a train pass by. But suddenly she sensed a presence next to her. She turned to her right.


'You shouldn't be here! Get out of here, now!'


In front of her was a man who seemed to be around her age – 28 years old she presumed. But what really caught her eye was his unusual eye and hair color. It was green. His eyes widened for a moment before he yelled "You shouldn't be here! Get out of here, now!"


Somehow this moment seemed so familiar yet so foreign at the same time.


He had sensed a foreboding presence and quickly rushed from his sleeping chambers to prevent the presence from coming any closer to the bathhouse. He was shocked to find a woman with chestnut colored eyes and hair. She was the foreboding presence? However he quickly gathered his composure when he recognized she was just a newly dead spirit who had lost her way. However, she didn't belong here and he didn't hesitate to tell her off. But there was a strange feeling tugging at his heart.


She also felt the tug. Seeing this green stranger – she couldn't get over the fact anyone could possibly have green hair or eyes – exhilarated her. But she decided she should leave; he seemed pretty annoyed that she was here.

Slowly she took a step back – keeping eye contact with the stranger. Her heart was tugging her forward – towards him – but her body did the opposite.




Once she reached the edge of the bridge she broke their gaze, and proceeded down the steps.


Tug. Tug. Tug.


His fists were clenched, nails digging into his palms. Something was telling him to chase after her.

He took two steps forward, but forced himself to stop. Instead of going after her, he broke into a fast-walk towards the bathhouse – after-all night was about to come and preparations had to be made.


Once a river stops flowing it will never start again. Love is like a river. Once it is lost it can never come back.

He slowed down his fast-walk till he reached a stop. With eyes shut, and jaws clenched tightly he made his decision. He whipped himself around –running towards the way she had gone.


He felt silly running after her, after-all she was just another deceased spirit that lost its way. Nothing special. But he couldn't let her slip away from him again. Wait. Again? He ignored that thought blaming his rationale for not functioning right today.

All he knew was right now he had to catch up to her.


"Once you've met someone you never really forget about them. It just takes a while for your memory to return." Zeniiba smiled.


As he reached the top of the steps where she disappeared at –


She was there. Walking Away. Away from him.


He stared at her back. What was he supposed to do now?


Tug. Tug. Tug.


"Don't worry everything will be okay Chihiro. I'm here to help you."


"Chihiro!" the name rolled off his tongue. The name seemed so familiar.


She stopped.


"Don't look back" he said, but that wasn't what he meant. Look back. Don't leave.

She turned around. Green met Brown.


"How did you know my name was Chihiro?"


Blink. Blink. Blink.

"How did you know my name was Chihiro?"

Déjà vu.

Click. Pause. Click. Rewind.


It is true that once a river stops flowing it can't ever start to again. But when a river splits into two, somewhere down the road it can be reunited– continuing where it left off – flowing as one again.


There had been no years. Let's continue from where we left off.

Click. Play.

A/N: Woot! I finally finished this story after spending my entire Sunday on it. I must say I'm pretty happy with the way it came out. I was surprised at how the words and ideas seemed to flow so easily. I can also now say that my dissatisfaction with the ending is almost gone. I hope you guys enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it. Reviews and Criticisms are always welcomed. :)

P.S. I was listening to Joe Hisaishi's "One Summer's Day" the whole time I was writing this and that was like seven or more hours xD. It's a really nice song and so is the version with someone singing along to it; I recommend this to anyone looking for a soothing piece of music to listen to.

-- Sirpil