"Could you ever remember leaving a world for another, and finding out that not a second had passed since when you have returned? Or could you ever remember the friends that you have made, the battles you have fought, and the challenges that you have defeated? Could you ever remember a time when you were older, much taller than you are now? "
Those were words from a book that she had read once before. It had appeared in her stack of library books that she had borrowed to do her homework back when she was studying for her university entrance exams… It had totally captured her mind, but after she had put it aside for her revision books, she could not find it ever again. Now, she could only remember vague phrases, passages that surely had made a lasting impression on her, simply because she had had such a hauntingly similar experience, but not the tale itself…
Since that day her family took a short-cut and ended up in the world of the spirits… For years, she had thought it nothing but her childhood imagination running wild, but when she read those words, everything came back to her, as if she had been relieving every moment of her past experience with the spirits yet again...
Oh, what she would not give to see him again, the gentle Dragon that had helped her so, that knew her name before she knew his, that saved her from drowning when she was but a child...
"There are chasms in our world that will open and lead us to other places that defy our own imagination… You just need where to look…"
If only she had known that sooner… She had tried to many times to count in her childhood years, trying to find the tunnel that led her to that colorful, magical realm. She had failed too many times as well…
"We'll meet again, won't we?"
"We will, I promise."
Years had passed since then, and now, she was no longer a child, but a young adult, walking aimlessly in the countryside not far from London (she was there for the weekend, to just get away from her studies as a Law student in a rather prestigious university in London). It was spring, and the gentle winds seemed to have guided her footsteps. It was not before long that she was standing right before a beautiful mansion with vast grounds. All of a sudden, the wind that had been her guide grew strong and blasted the gates open, shocking her to no end.
Should she go in?
It seemed that she had no choice, because the wind had somehow blown a trail for her, lifting the grass off the ground wherever it passed. "Sorry for intruding!" she exclaimed to anyone that might hear her, but she received no response at all. There was no one there… but strangely, the door to the mansion had been open…
For the second time, she hesitated, and for the second time, the wind pushed her in, rather forcefully this time, too. And thus, she knocked at the door, and walked in, with her Japanese sensibilities of taking off her shoes and socks even if the floors were utterly dusty. She did not care though, she had actually played with soot spirits before, and they made her hands and feet even blacker than they were now.
Swords of different make lined the walls of the main staircase, several statues of great men that she could not recognize, followed by all sorts of intricate artwork, all depicting lions. Strange… the owner of this house, whoever he or she had been, must have been a great fan of lions.
She took a left turn to a hallway, finding most of the doors to be locked, thus, she doubled back, and took a right turn instead. She continued in this pattern, curiously searching room after room after room, searching for something that she knew not of. And then, her heartbeat increased in speed, and she knew that she was to go into the room three doors away from her.
There was a key in the keyhole, and she turned it, expecting to find the owner of the house yelling at her for intruding, or perhaps someone else… But all she saw was a large, intricately carved wardrobe. It was beautiful, that piece of furniture, and she opened its doors.
Out of nowhere, she heard the roar of a lion, and she was immediately frightened. She closed the wardrobe's doors and ran out of the house as fast as she could… She was sure that she had come too far this time. She had crossed lines that she should not have crossed, and she was afraid that something might happen to her… like the last time.
"Hello there, what are you doing here?"
A voice, a female voice interrupted her thoughts and fears. She soon realized that a young woman perhaps a few years younger than she was standing before her, and she had to admit, the other woman was a vision of beauty. She seemed to be wearing a red and white school-uniform, her black hair pulled back into a ponytail, while her large blue eyes sparkled under the sun. Something was different about her, a strange grace that could not make her mind associate the stranger as anything but a schoolgirl.
"I'm sorry for intruding but…" she opened her mouth to answer, but found not the right words.
The young woman smiled and tilted her head to one side. "It's alright," she said cheerfully, a playful smile surfacing on her pouty lips that many women must have killed one another for. With those words, she took her by the hands and led her further into the grounds. "I'm Susan by the way… Susan Pevensie."
Her eyes widened when she heard the name… Where had she encountered it before? But there was no time for other questions, as courtesy demanded that she gave the young woman her name in return. "My name's Ogino Chihiro," she said, bowing to Susan.
"I've never met a Japanese girl before," Susan told her, eyes still sparkling. "Come on, you must meet brothers and sister…" Having said thus, Chihiro had no choice but to follow Susan, and after a few moments of walking, she came to what seemed to be the perfect spot for a picnic. The infinite blue skies above them, a green meadow (or a rather large patch of grass) which seemed to be an emerald sea with waves that blew in the wind… She remembered such a scene, save the meadow which resembled a sea was actually a sea…
When they stopped, she met Susan's brothers, Peter and Edmund, and her sister Lucy. They had been talking amongst themselves, about things that she could not comprehend. Of Dwarfs, Dryads and Centaurs, of a castle built upon a cliff by the glittering seashores of a majestic land…
But she too, had her own tales to share with them. Just as they had told her about their adventures in a wild, yet beautifully savage land of Narnia she told them how she entered that bath-house filled with Gods and other spirits, the bath-house where frogs run the place like clockwork and was lorded over by a Witch who was only a little less evil than the White Witch that they had faced…
"And you never saw him again?" Lucy asked when she came to the end of her story. "That's awfully like Su and Caspian!" She had been told by the siblings that Susan had sort-of fallen for a dashing future-King back in Narnia. But because she could no longer go back to Narnia, she had to leave him behind, and to move on in life… And she had done the same, but she could never forget that youth with the sharp green eyes…
Chihiro could not help herself from blushing as she returned to the present. "I was only ten then!" she exclaimed, her cheeks getting redder and redder by the moment. "That's totally different!"
Susan chuckled. "Age doesn't matter at all, silly," she told Chihiro. "What matters is the heart. You clearly love that dragon of yours, and he's promised that you'll meet again!"
"But his river was gone…" the Japanese woman replied. "It was filled to build apartments and stuff…"
"He's a God right?" Edmund asked her. "Surely he has ways to find you. Gods don't just simply make promises they can't keep you know?"
Peter, the eldest just chuckled. "You just have to open your eyes," he added, like every bit of the wise king he once was. "He'll be there where you least expect it."
Just then, a familiar sound filled her ears… The sound of running water invaded the atmosphere as the siblings quieted down. "Is there a river nearby?" Chihiro asked Susan, who promptly nodded her answer.
"Yes, but…" Susan barely managed to complete her sentence when Chihiro rose from the picnic blanket and ran towards the direction of the river. And with every step she took, she could feel the wind that prompted her in getting stronger, so much that it literally blasted what seemed to be the back door of the estate off its hinges.
From there on, the sound of the water became clearer and clearer… And when the wind had stopped blowing, she came to a river that she knew from sight… Its waters were of a hue that could only be described as a clear jade… Yes, jade… the color of his eyes.
But one question remained in her mind… Was this really the river she once knew, or was this just another figment of her imagination? The Pevensies had confirmed to her that there was indeed a river there, but it could still be just a river…
There was only one thing to do. She placed her hand in the water, and felt not water, but the mane of a dragon that she had known from a long time ago. All of a sudden, she felt her body becoming afloat, and when she opened her eyes again, she found that she was grasping deer-like antlers in each hand, and that she was soaring around the beautiful mansion, with the Pevensies cheering for her down below.
Time passed slowly when she was in the sky… She no longer felt afraid, and was absently running her hand through his beautiful dragon's mane. Memories of those days of her childhood came back, and she smiled…
"Chihiro," his voice filled her mind when they landed, her hands held so gently in his. "You finally found me…" He said nothing more, for he kissed her then and there, oblivious to the other humans. Such emotion, such happiness and joy in one gesture so pure and so sudden… A pearl-like teardrop fell from her eyes and onto his cheek when their kiss broke, and he chuckled. "Silly girl… We have kept our promise to one another… why are you crying now?"
Chihiro said nothing, she just plunged herself deeper into his arms. "Haku…" she murmured his name over and over again, feeling his large, strong hand stroke her long hair. And for a long while they remained that way, in a embrace of lovers, basking in the joy of seeing one another again.
"See, I told you that relocating him here would do the trick," the old crone said to the Lion next to her as they watched the young human reuniting with the River-Dragon that loved her. Her smile was so wide that it spanned the entire length of her already wide head. "And thanks for loaning me your own spirits as well… She really needed some gentle prodding."
The Lion chuckled and replied, "They are my four best-loved Children. I know that they would be happy to help in any way. But you have a debt to me, madam. The Dragon did take her on a ride in the skies before kissing her."
The wide-headed crone literally cackled endlessly. It would be gold that she would be highly willing to part with.
HAN: I hope that you liked this! No one's ever tried a Spirited Away/Narnia crossover before, ahahahaha ^.^ Please tell me what you think of this!