Differences Paths Taken Make

Chapter 1: Ten Years Later

By the-writing-vampire

Endless walking, that's what it feels like when you are spirited away. It goes on forever, yet at the same time only a second. You lose track of time, too. This is something I know firsthand, as when I was a child, I had been spirited away to a place that almost seemed like a different world. I had been gone for a week, but it only seemed like an afternoon to me. A boy with red hair helped me find my way back. That's all I remember about the boy, his hair color. It's the only thing the always is known about him in the dreams that I have had since that day.

That trip left me with something else too though. Ever since I was abducted to the afterlife as a child, I had the capablity to see the imprints that the dearly departed leave of themselves in this world. For those of you that don't catch my meaning, I mean that I am able to see spirits, ghosts, and the like. Because of this, I have had a little trouble making friends when I was younger. Not that I tell anyone about my ability to see the dead walking, as that would just make my life even more complicated. The reason is that I can't seem to bring myself to get close to others. I don't show my apprehensions toward those around me, but I do know that those I can see and no one else can have a habit of attacking people when they are evil spirits. I can't tell the difference yet by looking at them, so I avoid making friends.

"Hey, Sakura-san!" A male voice calls from behind me. I turn around to see the only other person I know of who can see the deceased: my best friend since Elementary School, Tsubasa Jumonji. He can see ghosts too, so he is the exception to the rule. His hair is black and kind of short (with a bit of a pony tail at the base of his skull). He also has deep blue eyes that are surprisingly perceptive at the right moment, and lightly tanned skin.

"Hello, Tsubasa," I reply with a smile.

"Wait for me, will you?" he calls as he runs to catch up to me. We have walked to school every day since we were kids and found out that both of us could see the departed. That's how he became my best friend, and I his.

"So, how has your morning been so far?" he asks sending me a gentle smile with a slight flush to his cheeks as we begin to walk again. See, it clear that Tsubasa has feelings for me beyond friendship. And I'm not talking about the kind you would have for a member of your family. He hasn't told me about it, but his actions show it as clear as the sun on a cloudless day. As a result, it's a little awkward around him at times. Don't get me wrong, I love him to pieces, just not in the same way. He's my best friend, and I see him as only that. "Any more of your dreams?"

"My morning has been as good as any other, Tsubasa. And I don't have to tell you about whether I have had another one of my dreams!" I respond in my usual calm voice. I don't like telling anyone about my dreams from when I was spirited away. With most people, it is because they wouldn't understand. I mean, it is not every day that you run into someone who had been spirited away by something from the afterlife and has lived to tell the tale. Tsubasa wouldn't understand that part of it, but he is the only person able to understand what came from it. I am not comfortable talking with him about it either. He found out one day, though I'm not sure how I had fallen asleep around him, when I was dreaming. He woke me up, and I told him that it was a dream about when I got my ability to see what I see and left it at that. Naturally, being my friend and all, he was curious and tried to push it out of me. To this day, that battle continues.

"I honestly don't see why you refuse to tell me about it. I mean, I'm your best friend and understand the problems that come with the 'I see dead people' thing. If you ever get to the point where you tell ANYONE about it, it would be me."

I let out a heavy sigh. Tsubasa had used this argument countless times to try to get me to open up about it, but they have never worked. I stop my walking and look straight at him. "Tsubasa, I don't think I will ever tell anyone about it. There are parts that even others who can see spirits wouldn't be able to understand. Heck, I don't even understand what all happens in that dream. So can we just drop it and move on with our lives?"

He gave me a gentle smile and a nod in response. The typical answer for moments where, in his mind, I am positive that he is thinking something on the lines of How can I tell her "No" when she gives me that face? and then go right back to what he was doing before in about a week. I don't understand his feelings for me. Yes, I have a better chance of understanding him than other girls, but that doesn't mean that I am the only one who will.

"Let's get to class." I say as I turn to walk to the school. I have a problem with being late.

"I just hope that one ghost doesn't try to mess with you again, Sakura."

We both let out a sigh, knowing that he will, yet again, be there to try to get me to talk to him, as he does every morning and afternoon.

The school morning went as it always did. The teacher talks as everyone in the class listens and takes notes. Talking when called on. Nothing out of the ordinary. That is, until about the last period of the day before lunch. After that, everything went from what you expect of a school day to what I'm somewhat use to in my personal life. By this I mean the insanity that comes with the world of the dead and those that can see them.

It all started when a giant Chihuahua ran into the second story classroom from the window. Although I tried to keep cool about all of this, it's kind of hard to do when you have a random ghost pop up out of nowhere and no one else can see it (Tsubasa was out of the class room for some reason at this time). My eyes bugged out a little and I had a bit of sweat on my forehead as I thought Just great. There's a ghost in here, while it's the middle of a class period, and I can do nothing about it. Maybe it will be gone by the time lunch comes so that I can just act as me and not have everyone think that I'm a freak who talks to them self, when I am actually talking to a ghost.

Little did I know that this Chihuahua would bring me something that would lead to all of my questions about my ability to see those that have passed on being answered. For after my thoughts of the Chihuahua had finished, another otherworldly being had come in to the room. It was a boy about my age with red hair, red eyes, and a strange haori with flames and wheels on it. The description that reminded me greatly of the boy from my dreams, only his age had changed at the same rate as my own.

A feeling overwhelms me as I watch him come into the room the same way I saw the oversized dog enter: Flying through a second story window. He had what looked like a black cat with the face of a little boy resting on his shoulder. His eyes were cool and calculated, as if he was thinking of the best way to answer a complicated problem.

Needless to say, I became shocked to see him again.

And there lies the end of a new chapter. I am sorry it took me so long to update this one. I had a little bit of writer's block, followed by my computer dying after I started a new chapter of this story. I blame the Hunger Games, as it did not survive that. Anyway, I had to restart the chapter after that happened, which was right the weekend before my classes started. I would like to say thank you to all who reviewed this story: KnR fan (guest), Anon (guest), and Manga-fan-99. You are all great, and I appreciate you eagerness for a new chapter. Sorry for the wait you had to deal with.

In case you hadn't guessed by reading this chapter, Rinne still ages at the rate of a normal human. I will explain that later.

I would like to take this second to say that I do not own the Rinne series in any way, shape or form. The story is owned by the Reiko Takahashi and the companies that have rights to publish it.