Spirited Away: The Return Home

Chapter | 23

I couldn’t focus the next day. How could I have dropped my guard so easily? I kept telling myself that it wasn’t a big deal, that it was a moment of weakness, but deep down I knew it wasn’t true. I had felt something when Yoru touched me. It wasn’t something new and unexpected, the complete opposite in fact. It felt almost… right.

Two weeks passed before I saw Yoru again. Apparently he had been sent on a mission before I could talk to him again. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to talk either, because it was time to leave for the mission. Even though Yoru hadn’t been around to train me, I still practised by myself and sometimes Boh would come and help me.

The plan had also come together quite nicely. According to Juko, my new found “power” was just what he had needed to figure out the last bit of his plan.

Even though Juko had run through every step of the plan with me, several times, I still felt a bit nervous. So much could go wrong, but I still intended to see it through to the end.

I was taking a moment alone in Haku’s room when there was a knock on the door.

“It’s open!” I yelled, a little irritated.

Yoru slipped inside and closed the door behind him. My little irritated suddenly turned to a lot irritated.

“What do you want?” I asked, not even bothering to hide my foul mood.

“Juko said it’s time to head out” he said, leaning against the closed door.

Sighing loudly, I got to my feet.

Without looking at Yoru I flung open the balcony door and stepped out.

“What’re you waiting for?” I asked when he didn’t follow immediately. He seemed to wake up and followed me out until we stood facing each other outside.

Without speaking he extended his wings, flexing them a little. I walked around him, ducking underneath his wing, and climbed onto his back as he crouched down.

“You ready?” he asked and I nodded against his back. Slowly he bent down before launching straight into the sky, his wings slicing through the air without trouble.

Instinctively I wrapped my arms tighter around his shoulder, careful not to choke him... Even though I wanted to, but only a little bit. It wasn’t long before we were high enough for Yoru to turn horizontal.

From there on it was smooth, silent sailing.

I hand touching my arm woke me.

“Chihiro” Yoru said, shaking my arm again.

“Hmm?” I asked, struggling to open my eyes properly.

“We’re almost there, time to put on your blindfold,” he said, tucking something into one of my hands. Sluggishly I obeyed, trying to balance myself so that both my hands could be free.

After that the silence became unbearable, so I decided to ask him about our little moment those few weeks earlier.

“Uhm, Yoru, where did you go after leaving me room last time?” I asked, trying to sound casual about it.

Yoru turned his head to the side a little, “What time?” he asked. Was he being serious?

“Come on, you know, just before you left for your mission two weeks ago,” I said, trying to stay calm about the whole thing.

“Chihiro, I honestly don’t know what you’re talking about. Plus, it couldn’t have been me, I left on my mission three weeks ago and I was gone the entire time.”

My body seemed to go icy cold, my bones frozen to the core.

“Stop!” I yelled, ripping the blindfold from me head. Yoru stopped and I unwrapped my legs from around his waist.

“Chihiro! What are you doing?” Yoru asked, helping me around his body. Once I was in front of him I wrapped my legs around his waist again, my heart beating loudly against my ribs, but that was only the heights.

“What do you mean you left three weeks ago?” I asked, looking him straight in the eye.

That’s when I noticed it.

Brown, Yoru’s eyes where a dark chocolate brown. It couldn’t be... His eyes weren’t brown that day, I distinctly remember them being greener. That wasn’t all, Yoru also had a few tiny scars on his face.

Tears started to form, but I pushed them back, not willing to cry about something I didn’t even understand. Yoru searched my face with his gaze, probably trying to figure out why I was acting like a hormonal fifteen year old.

“Chihiro...” Yoru whispered, obviously not knowing what to say or do.

“Don’t worry,” I said after taking a deep breath, trying desperately to stabilize myself. I didn’t wait for him to say anything; instead I climbed back to his back and put my blindfold back on. “Let’s go.”

Yoru didn’t ask about my little outburst after that, not that he had much time anyway since about five minutes later he ordered me to hold on tight.

The moment I felt like the world was folding in on me, I knew we were entering the other world, or whatever they called it. Once it felt like we were on solid ground, I climbed down from Yoru’s back, feeling with my feet for the ground before unwrapping my arms.

“Chihiro, now,” Yoru whispered in my ear.

I wasn’t really expecting them to reach us so soon, but luckily it didn’t really matter. I turned around and put my hands behind my back, crossing them at the wrists. Yoru wrapped his one hand around both my wrists and used the other one to keep my head up, almost as if choking me.

I took a deep breath, steadying my nerves as well as filling my lungs.

“Let me go!” I yelled out, thrashing wildly in his arms. “How could you do this to me?! I trusted you!” I continued, making sure I made enough noise to get everyone’s attention. Yoru didn’t say anything; he was focused on something else entirely.

“What’s going on in here?” a man asked as he entered the room. When he saw me and Yoru a look of confusion passed over his face.

“Yoru?” he asked, “What are you doing here; you know you’re not allowed back.”

At first I thought our plan had failed before we even got a chance to start, but Yoru squared his shoulders and looked at the man with more authority than I would ever be able to muster.

"I want to see her," Yoru said, not really leaving ‘no’ as an option.

The man looked between Yoru and me before turning around and walking up the stairs. Yoru obviously understood this meant he had to follow. He pushed me forward and I cried out for some dramatic effect, even though it did hurt a little bit.

When we reached the stairs Yoru took off my blindfold since I managed to trip over the very first step.

For some reason I instantly noticed when we passed the room I had been kept in the previous time I'd been captured. The door was closed and it made me wonder if my dress was still inside, but I doubted it.

It wasn't long before we reached the glass doors again. You'd think I wasn't even nervous before that moment compared to the way my heart was beating at the sight of them. I actually considered trying to escape, but Yoru's hand on my wrists comforted me, reminding me that I wasn't alone.

"Wait," the man ordered, and we did. The man slipped in the room, leaving the two of us alone outside. Yoru let go of my wrists so that I could try and rub some life back into them.

I was about to ask Yoru something when he gestured for me to stay quiet. I closed my mouth and simply looked at him. He seemed to be able to read my expression and wrapped his arms around me. When he pulled away he cradled my cheek in his hand, looking at me with a pleating gaze.

I nodded, knowing what he wanted to do. It wasn't that I wanted him to, but under the circumstances it felt appropriate to give him a little payment for risking his life.

Quickly, Yoru bent his head and kissed me. He kissed me like it was the last time we'd be able to see each other again.

We drew apart just as we heard the door knob being turned from the other side and the door was pushed open. "She'll see you now".

Taking one last nervous breath, I stepped into the room.

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