Hello everyone, I'm back! It's good to be, too! Sorry to keep you all waiting, but this took some time to think of. Anway, this is my second fanfic :) and I'm so syked for you all to read it. This takes place the day after my first fanfic, "Spirited Away Again." Of course, because this is the sequel! I hope you all like it; there are all familiar characters here but I'll be sure to add new ones in soon! :) Hope you enjoy!
Chapter 1: Into the Fog
"Kaede, don't do it!"
"What choice do I have, Mom?"
"If you do this, everything will change."
"Yeah? Maybe that's a good thing…"
"Mommy! Daddy!" I'm dreaming...I'm dreaming…
"Mommy, wake up!" It's only a dream. Mai and Haru and sound asleep in their beds. I need more sleep. Sleep…sleep…
"Come on, Mommy!" I couldn't resist them any longer. Those two never gave up. We were going to have to get up eventually. I slowly opened my eyes to see Mai and Haru jumping on our bed and shaking our arms.
"Today's our birthday!" They said. I put a smile on my face and picked up Mai.
"Yes, it is!" I told her, "And how old are you?" She counted her fingers, trying to remember how many she needed.
"Seven!" I nodded and threw the covers off me. Haku was still sleeping underneath the sheets. I shook my head, telling myself that one day he would actually get up on time one day.
"Mai, Haru," I whispered, "I think your daddy wants to play." They nodded and jumped on Haku and he immediately reacted.
"Daddy! Time to play!" He opened his eyes and looked at me. I smiled at his defeat. It pleased me to see that he would at least get up for his children. I departed from the warmth haven of my bed and left Haku to fend for himself against the little ones.
"It's time to sleep," I heard Haku say, "Can you let daddy sleep for just a few more minutes?"
"No! Daddy play now!" They never took no for an answer, so Haku was forced, by his own children, to get out of bed and start the day.
Now if only he would do that every morning, I said to myself. Mornings weren't his favorite, nor mine. But with every morning comes a new day in the bathhouse.
For sixteen years Haku and I have run the bathhouse, and it has become a big success. Just like Yubaba, we hired everyone who asked for a job, but we didn't steal their names. To become like the old Yubaba was my worst nightmare.
After I finished getting ready for the day, I went straight downstairs to the boiler room. Like every morning, Kamajii was lying down on his chair, dead to the world. He was a very loyal friend. When Haku and I had just started running the bathhouse, Kamajii stayed with us because he knew how much we needed his help.
"Kamajii! Breakfast!" I yelled and he immediately got up. I gave him his breakfast and his gladly took it. This used to be Emi's job, but she's been traveling the Spirit World for the past sixteen years. We always would get letters from her, saying what a wonderful time she was having. Yu-Bird sent letters to and from Emi. It is still hard for me to call her Emi instead of Lin. I haven't seen her since the day she left, but she promised to return. And like everyone in the Spirit World, they don't break a promise.
"Oh, thank you, Chihiro," Kamajii said. I sat down by the soot workers Kamajii had. I used the same spell he did on the soot for helpers around the house. With three children and a husband, things tend to get messy, and I'm not always there to clean it up. Most of the time I'm not even at the bathhouse.
"So, how're the kids?" Kamajii asked. I saw one of the soot balls struggling to carry a piece of coal, so I stood up and helped him carry it. Whenever they needed help I'd do what I could, but not too much or else they would return to their original form.
"Oh, you know," I told him, carrying the coal like it was no big deal, "Haru and Mai are always energetic, so they're never boring."
"And your eldest?" I sighed when he mentioned that. I never liked talking about Kaede. After she turned thirteen, she became so distant with Haku and me. Every time I tried talking to her she would ignore me or tell me to go away.
"Same as always," I sighed as I threw the piece of coal into the boiler. Kamajii placed a hand on my shoulder.
"She'll come around," he said, "Trust me." I smiled. Kamajii always knew how to make me feel better. He was always there for me. Aside from Haku, he was best friend. And he always would be.
"Chihiro! Come on, we have to go!" Haku said. I looked at Kamajii and gave an apologetic expression.
"Sorry," I said, walking towards the little door in the wall, "I'll see you when we come back." We waved good-bye to each and I ran up to the top floor, where my office was. It was the same office Yubaba had, although there were two desks now. Haku's was against one wall and mine against the other. We had another one put in here because Yubaba insisted that I use her desk. Working together at the bathhouse was one of the greatest things we ever did together.
"Ready?" I said. He nodded. Every so often we would leave the bathhouse in the trusted hands of Kamajii and visit our dear friends, Zeniba and Yubaba. After Yubaba entrusted Haku and me with the bathhouse, we have been visiting them and checking up on things. Today was just another one of our numerous visits to Swamp Bottom.
Haku transformed into his dragon form and I climbed onto his back. He flew out of our office and headed towards Swamp Bottom. It never took longer than an hour, but today was different. Fog began surrounding us. I felt very uneasy about this. But Haku didn't seem worried, so I tried shaking it off.
I laid down on his back and stared at the sky above. The sun was a beautiful sight to see, and the clouds encircling it. I always wondered if it was the same sun my parents looked at when they started their day.
It had been sixteen years since I last saw them, heard their voices, or even felt their hugs. It was only a year after that day did I realize the pain of losing them. But Haku was there. He comforted me and told me that one day I would see them. I made him promise, and he did. I always wondered if he was telling the truth or just saying that to make me feel better.
Some time went by and I wondered if we would ever make it to Swamp Bottom. We had been flying straight through the mysterious fog, and I was skeptical if we were ever going to get out of it.
"Haku how much longer? We've been flying for over an hour." Obviously Haku was becoming angry with my impatience, so he sped down to the ground and I jumped off. He transformed back into his human form.
"It's this fog. I can't see where I'm going." He told me. I looked around the area where we landed. I saw nothing but the fog that was acting as a wall, blocking us from where we had to go. In the distance, I saw the train's light. But the light was right in front me, and it was heading straight for us!
"Chihiro, get out of the way!" Haku grabbed me and pushed me to the ground away from the train. I bumped my head on the ground and cut my arm on a tree branch. It wasn't as painful as it normally would have been, though. The train began slowing down and it eventually stopped at a train station not twenty feet from.
"Swamp Bottom! Anyone for Swamp Bottom?" I heard the conductor say. That was when I realized we had made it to our destination.
"Chihiro, you have to be more careful." Haku told me. I looked at him and smiled.
"I'm still alive, aren't I?" I said, "And did you hear what that man said? We made it to Swamp Bottom." I got up and began running to the train station. The train departed and left, going to its next stop. I began running down the path that led to Zeniba's house.
"Chihiro, wait! When did you become such a fast runner?" I chuckled. I had always been faster than him. I joked around with him saying that it was because I was younger than him, and then he would use magic to make himself look younger than me.
When I finally made it to the small house, the door opened for us to walk in. Haku came out from the path seconds later, panting, out of breath.
"Come on, honey, they're waiting." I said. His hands were locked on his knees and he was out of breath. I grabbed his wrist and we walked into Zeniba's house. Zeniba was pouring a cup of tea for herself when we walked in. No-Face was staring outside, looking at the sun. He was always so fascinated by it and I never knew why. Yubaba was nowhere to be found, but that was normal. She would come and go a great deal of times; but in this fog, I was worried about her.
"Hi, Granny!" I said as Haku shut the door closed.
"Oh, Chihiro! Haku! So nice of you to come! Please, sit and I'll pour you some tea." Haku gladly took a seat as I took the one next to him. Zeniba told us we had to be quiet because Boh was asleep in the next room. Last time I woke him up, he practically went on a rampage. I didn't want that to happen a second time.
Zeniba sat down and stared me down for a second. I was a little worried about why. But then I realized it was because of what had happened earlier with the accident.
"So, what happened that gave you that cut on your arm and that bump on your head?" She knew that it was very odd for a spirit to get even the slightest injury. Accidents like that weren't common among most spirits. The only injuries most spirits face was a broken heart.
"Oh, this," I said, looking at the cut on my arm, "Well, we were flying through this fog and when we landed, we landed on the train tracks. Then the train was coming and Haku pushed me out of the way. That's when I hit my head and a tree branch cut my arm."
"Hmm," Zeniba said, "I see. Well, good thing Haku was there to save you." I smiled at him as he grabbed a hold of my hand. He was always there for me. I looked over to where No-Face was sitting. All day he would stare at the sun, admiring its beauty. But he never came by us when Haku and I visited.
"No-Face," I said, "Why don't you come and sit by us?" He looked at me, shook his head, and went back to staring out the window as I sighed. He never talked to me anymore. I wondered what I did to make him do this to me.
"Come on No-Face," Zeniba said, "I have a warm cup of tea waiting for you."
"Uh, uh." He said. I took that as a yes when he began making his way towards us. I smiled at Zeniba and whispered a 'thank-you' to her. No-Face really only listened to her. He sat down next to her and I relaxed a little more. Things were peaceful here. Quiet, serene, tranquil...
"Zeniba!" We heard a scream. And as easily as the peace began, it ended just the same. An angry witch identical to Zeniba walked in. I smiled at Yubaba, knowing this temper was only temporary.
"Hello, Yubaba, glad to see you two are getting along." I said sarcastically. Haku laughed behind me, but Yubaba wasn't in the mood for jokes.
"Cute," she said, "Want me to permanently glue your mouth together? Again?" I knew she wouldn't really, but that wasn't a risk I was willing to take. Only certain things require me to do so. I tightened my grip on Haku's hand.
"Zeniba," Yubaba began, "I told you to keep that lamp post by the train station! I couldn't get anywhere in that fog out there!"
Her, too? We had the same problem. I thought. What was causing this fog? Or better yet, who…
"I'm sorry, but he needs a rest every once in awhile," Zeniba replied.
"Do you know what caused it? Or who?" I asked curiously. Yubaba hated when I asked questions about the Spirit World. I had only lived here for sixteen years, so some things were still a little new to me. But she probably didn't know the answer to this one.
"I'm not sure, but I sensed something bad out there, you might want to stay here awhile." She told us. But we couldn't stay much longer. Mai and Haru would be devastated if we were late to their birthday.
"But we can't!" I complained, "Mai and Haru expect us to be back for their birthday."
"Oh right, the little twins of terror," Yubaba said, "I knew having one kid would be enough. That's why Boh is an only child." She smiled, looking at through the door in the room where Boh was sleeping. He was still the big, chubby baby we all knew and loved.
"Yeah, just look at you and Granny; both of you are always fighting with each other." I commented. Yubaba zipped my mouth closed. As I struggled to speak, she just laughed at me.
"Oh Yubaba! Cut that out, be nice to our guests." Zeniba used her magic and reopened my mouth. Yubaba grunted and walked away and sat in the rocking chair in the corner. That was where Zeniba would sow, and where No-Face, Boh, and Yu-Bird made the hair band for me.
"I'm sorry for my sister's behavior," Zeniba said.
"That's okay, Granny. It's not like I'm not used to it by now." I whispered. We both chuckled as Haku stood up. Only a few minutes here and he was already ready to leave.
"We really should be going, don't you think, Chihiro?" Haku interrupted. After spending a few minutes with Yubaba, he would always get uncomfortable and ask that we leave immediately. I sighed as I looked at Zeniba. I was a bit poignant. We hadn't been there that long and it took some time getting there. But Haku was right. Mai and Haru were expecting us to be back soon.
"Sorry, Granny, but we can't miss their birthday. It would start a whole commotion." She smiled and put her hand on my shoulder.
"We understand," she said, "Give them our best wishes, and our present should arrive there on time." She said and winked. I smiled and gave her a hug. She was the closest thing I had to an actual grandmother, since both of mine died before I was born.
"Oh Chihiro…" Yubaba called out in a very scary, creepy way. My eyes opened wide. It didn't seem like it would be a pleasant conversation by the way she said that.
"Um, yes?" I gulped.
"Did you find it yet?" She asked. I breathed a sigh of relief after that. Ever since Haku and I had become the heads of the bathhouse, Yubaba told me there was something special she had left behind, but she wouldn't tell me what it was or where she had it.
"Not yet," I said. She looked disappointed.
"Oh well, I guess I'll have to ask next time you come." She said. I shrugged and walked towards the open door.
"Good-bye everyone!" I shouted. This got both Yubaba and Zeniba angry. I had forgotten that Boh was asleep, and the minute I said that, he woke up.
"Mommy?" He said, "Mommy! Is that Sen? Sen!"
"Oh you're in for it, girl!" Yubaba yelled, but I quickly closed the door and Haku transformed into the dragon. I climbed aboard and we flew back into the fog. It was going to be harder getting home than it was getting here.
"You know, maybe we should come here less often," I said, and I knew Haku was smiling at that.
Wow! So what did you think? Yubaba really has it in for Chihiro, now! But what's with the fog? I mean, how does something like fog almost get Chihiro killed? And also, why is No-Face so reluctant to speak with Chihiro? What did she do? And that mystery Yubaba has waiting for Chihiro back at the bathhouse? All will be revealed in due time. Please review! I appreciate everything from compliments to criticism. Thank you! :)