Hello, everyone. I will start by admitting that this was a rash decision from my part. Lately, I stare at my published stories and think, "Rubbish!" I start re-writing them, only to give up and leave them be.

I didn't give up on this one, however. It's been five years since I saw this movie. And, honestly? It felt strange going over this story. There was just so much wrong, cringe-worthy stuff. It genuinely surprises me that it took as much as 20 reviews.

I'm not expecting to miraculously increase reviews, I just want to feel better about myself. Read for yourself and find out the differences.

Disclaimer: I don't own Wolf Children / Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki.

Oh, right, chapters have double titles. Usually it's direct translations, but there are some chapters with differences between the Japanese and the English. It was a deliberate decision, which I will explain in length in an additional chapter at the end.


Girl and Wolf

~しょうじょとおおかみ~

A bus drove through the almost deserted mountains, only one passenger on board. It wasn't certainly all that surprising, few people lived around here. The passenger was a teenage girl and, from her appearance, she seemed to be no older than 17.

The bus pulled to a stop, and the driver turned to face the girl, finding her asleep.

"Miss," he called, standing up, "This is the last stop."

Turquoise eyes opened to the world, a little confused as they took in their surroundings. "This is the last stop?" whispered the girl, confusion all the more evident.

The driver nodded his head, "This is the last stop."

"Thank you very much."

Picking up her bag, the teen walked towards the open doors. Vibrant green greeted her eyes, the smell of wood and grass invaded her lungs, she really was deep in the mountains. Her heart leaped at the prospective of having to camp out there, alone.

It's alright, it's faint but I can still hear.

Turning towards the driver with what she hoped was a reassuring smile, "I will be alright! My relatives live just ahead." She was such a horrible liar, but she hoped the man would believe her and leave.

The man chuckled, closing the doors and driving down the mountain. Occasionally, he would glance at the rear mirror, hoping to see the girl go and not worry about her anymore. This was the first time he found himself worrying so much over one of his many passengers, it wasn't like him.

Having predicted the man's actions, the girl began walking in the direction that inspired her the most. "My relatives live ahead? What relatives? Maybe the trees," she mumbled gloomily.

Nothing but trees, both left and right. Picturesque and lovely at least. However, to survive she needed something more, something like food or a shelter.

"All my money went on the train, the bus and… dying my hair pink." With a head full of pink, she looked like your everyday rebellious teen. Maybe she should have gone for a blonde dye; that was super common.

I shouldn't have let that magazine talk me into this. Though pitiful, it felt better blaming an innominate object, than pointing out how easily she is swayed by others' opinions. It does feel good, but still.

Her mind was jumping from thought to thought, but her eyes were taking in every single detail of that forest, how that tree over to the far left had a lighter bark than the one standing right next to it, or how there were tire tracks on the ground to sho―

"Wait, tracks?!" In her confusion, she ended up blurting that aloud. Still, the tracks were there, unaffected by her hysterical reaction.

Following the tracks, the teen emerged right next to a house. Standing proudly in all its traditionalism, a beautiful Japanese house in the mountains. It was picture perfect, or would have been, if only that red car wasn't right there in the corner.

The girl ignored the car ―or at least tried to― as she burned every detail of the house in her head. She could accurately name every hue of brown it had, and reproduce it on paper with her eyes closed if she had to.

"Are you lost?"

Had she been a cat in her previous life? She didn't know she could jump that high. Silencing her heart, the girl turned to the left to give a face to the voice that just spoke. A smiling woman greeted her, in her hands she had a basket with vegetables.

Finally remembering that she had been asked something, "Ah... uhm... yes, something... like that." Wow, that was the most eloquent phrase of her whole life.

The woman's face lit up. She had the face of someone who had just won the lottery, expect she had just met a girl in front of her house, claiming to be lost. "Come in! Let me get you something to drink."

And just like that, pinkette found herself inside the house, sitting at the table with a steaming cup of green tea staring at her. Had she some kind of superpower, she could bet that the cup would have exploded from how hard she was staring at it. But, alas, all she could do was know how hot that tea was without touching it.

"Is it alright to let a stranger enter a house like this? Wouldn't someone normally be afraid that I would steal something?"

"Are you going to steal something?"

The girl felt her face contort into some kind of horrified expression, degree of which unknown to her because she couldn't see herself. "Of ― Of course not!"

"Then, it's alright." A gentle smile bloomed on the woman's face once again, as if she knew from the beginning the girl's answer. There was no way she could, after all she was―

Shaking her head furiously, the girl forced her mind into a blank state. It was easier to ignore thoughts and whispers this way.

"My name is Hana," said the woman, the smile still present and shining. "What's your name?"

"I'm―"

"Shizuko!"

"Weird and silent Shi-zu-ko!"

"Stop saying nonsense, Shizuko!"

"You should be more like your name. Quiet and insignificant, little Shizuko-chan."

Name. She needed a new name. This was a new life she was experiencing, she needed a new name and fast. Her eyes darted around the room, in searching for something, anything really.

A melody suddenly came to mind. She couldn't remember, when was the last time she heard that song? What were the lyrics again? She couldn't remember. It went something like this na na na na na na naa na na na na na na naa.

"―Hoshi! I'm Hoshi."

If Hana noticed her hesitation, she didn't say anything about it. "Hoshi-chan is it? That's a lovely name." She smiled, as if nothing was wrong, and the girl found herself trying to desperately answer that. "Why don't you live here?"

Whatever smile Hoshi was trying to conjure up fell short, upon hearing those words. "What?" She felt compelled to question, in part she was also questioning the woman's sanity. Hoshi just hoped it didn't come off as rude.

This couldn't be reality. No one was ever this generous, not without having ulterior motives. Without stopping to think about it, it wasn't like her to willingly pry into people's thoughts, Hoshi touched the coffee table.

She expected to reveal Hana-san's true intentions, maybe she was a serial killer trying to get smart with her, but she met a wall of honesty. What she said, she was thinking.

Hana was willing to give shelter to a total stranger. There was no doubt in her mind, she did it out of the goodness of her heart. She was even already thinking about what to cook for dinner!

"I—"

"You can give me your answer later," smiled Hana, lifting the teacup to her lips.

Having no words to answer with, Hoshi lowered her gaze and stared at her lap. Now she felt bad for prying. She always did feel bad but, today she had done it consciously and that made her feel worse. Being aware of someone's thoughts, without them knowing, was a terrible feeling to have to live with.

"Can I…" she began, removing her gaze from her lap. "…look around?"

"Of course!" Hana answered with a beam. Her radiance was hard to look at, but Hoshi made the effort to maintain eye contact. "However, be careful not to venture too far."

Sitting on the tatami wasn't something the teen was accustomed to. Few houses in the city had tatami mats these days, it could even be said that this was her first time seeing some. Will I have to get used to it? The answer depended on if she was staying or if she was going.

The garden surrounding the house was well kept and, while there weren't many colors other than green, Hoshi quite liked it. It was the simplicity of it all, and that attracted her.

"The road… goes up."

She had been so distracted by the house —and the unattractive red car in front of it— that she missed completely the second path. It went up, deep into the forest.

Thus, Hoshi walked, walked and… walked some more. Even when there was no longer a path to follow, she continued walking. Wasn't life somewhat similar? To keep walking even though there was no path.

Slowly, as if guided by the quiet whispers of nature, she found herself in a clearing. Sunlight freely filtered through, creating sparkling reflections on the surface of the pond sitting in the middle of the clearing.

Finding the right tree was easy, bringing out her watercolors and other tools was harder. She was almost out of water and red paint, fortunately she didn't need much of either.

I hope I can find a new notebook here, this was already her fourth one and it was almost over. This was page 31 of 40, only nine more left.

Hoshi looked up from her sketchbook, wanting to focus a bit more on details, when she saw it. There, on the other side of the clearing, was a big dog.

No, no, no, dogs aren't that big!

Yes, it wasn't a dog. It was a wolf, a rarity in modern Japan. She only ever saw one in books, zoos seemed to rarely have the opportunity to house a live specimen.

And now, she was seeing one with her very own eyes. As much as she didn't want to take her eyes off it, she had to watch where her pencil was going if she wanted to draw.

It took her only two minutes to put down a quick sketch, but it was enough for the wolf to disappear. Like it was never there to begin with, she was compelled to think it was only her imagination.

"Are you lost?"

Hoshi was going to dismiss it as one of the usual whispers, but she noticed the shadow looming next to her that wasn't there until a second ago. She was a strange fellow, she would admit that much, however even she was afraid of the unknown.

Her eyes met deep brown, and for a second she was reminded of Hana-san. The resemblance was shocking, he looked like the man at the far back of Hana-san's thoughts. But, he couldn't be that person. This man — boy, he looked younger, around her age.

"N–No." It was a good thing she always remembered what she heard. "I… I was just… looking around."

An imperceptibly small smile graced his features and Hoshi… Well, she found herself wanting to see a more developed version of it, and that was very strange. Everything around here is strange, she reasoned, and I'm just as strange.

"Is there something on my face?" the boy questioned, though his expression didn't change to match his confused tone.

"Eh? Ah! Uhm, sorry." Her inability to talk went from 5 to 50. Hoshi resolved to just stare at the ground, wishing with all her heart that something would save her from this situation.

The boy seemed to understand, she wasn't good with words and neither was he. They were the same. "I live here, in these mountains," he said, offering to keep the conversation going.

"I — The bus stop… the last stop was here." Pushing forward, Hoshi was able to say at least one coherent phrase. She inwardly praised herself for the accomplishment.

"Are you a wandering artist?"

"Eh?"

With a muffled chuckle, the boy pointed towards the open sketchbook and the set of watercolors. He did have a point. She did look like a person aimlessly wandering around painting stuff and, for the most part, she kind of was.

"Not exactly artist, and not exactly wandering," she answered, closing up shop and standing up. "I'm here just… just because."

Her eyes met his. Their eyes blinked, like they were having an unspoken conversation using just blinks. They understood and answered in kind, no need for words, no need for noise.

It seemed like an eternity later when the boy finally spoke, but it was a mere two minutes. However, those two minutes were enough, they were enough for them to get lost in each other.

"I will guide you back, wild animals get active during this time of the day."

"Thanks."

They walked in perfect silence and rhythm, as though they were two people who have known each other for a long time. It wasn't like that, and Hoshi was putting forth the whys and the hows. She came to the conclusion that there was no need to know, this was fine.

A mysterious place, a mysterious person.

It was just as she thought that everything was fine, that she accidentally bumped her hand against the boy's. She awaited for the inevitable flow, the revolting sensation that always came with prying. She stood and waited, but nothing happened.

Opening her eyes wide with a gasp, Hoshi took hold of the boy's hand, and gripped it tightly in hers. Nothing. Zero, zilch, zip, nada, nothing… Absolute blankness. Not a single thought was entering her head, it was the same reaction she got from touching a tree or water.

Her brain made the ridiculous attempt of trying to convince her that he was a ghost. That lasted for about one second. She was touching him, there was no way he was anything other than human.

"Is something wrong?"

Locking eyes with him for like the umpteenth time, Hoshi came to the realization that she was touching him. She knew she was touching him, she had done it willingly, but she didn't actually realize that she was touching him. Now, that was confusing.

"It's… nothing." Yes, nothing. For the first time in her life, she was touching someone and she couldn't hear a single thing. The possibility that she had finally turned back to normal was zero, just this morning the world was still noisy, it couldn't have gone away that easily.

She was smiling.

It was weird, really. Why was she smiling? Was she that glad to have found a person impossible to read? Yes, actually. Even though he was a stranger, she wanted to see him again. The easy silence between them was what she had been, unknowingly, earning for.

"I wouldn't camp out here, if I were you," the boy suddenly said, coming to a halt and turning towards the girl. They have arrived at her starting point, where the paths split.

"I won't," answered Hoshi, the smile still present. "Someone offered me a place."

She watched as his eyes flew towards the second path, the smaller one that run all the way to Hana-san's house, before they were on her again. He must have known the woman and her kindness, there was no deeper meaning behind that look.

And yet, he looked sad for a second. Hoshi had a cheat, she didn't need to be a master at figuring people out to know what they were thinking, however with him… That cheat didn't work and yet, she still knew. The eyes that looked at that path, they were colored with a longing sadness.

"Take care," he said with a serious tone, the kind people used with someone they were never seeing again.

Instinctively, Hoshi grabbed his hand once again. Even emptiness was overwhelming, and she wondered how normal people put up with it. She was used to becoming a part of other people whenever she touched them, how was she supposed to act when she still remained herself? Is this what other people felt? Was she the strange one after all?

"Will I—" she hesitated, maybe this was a bad idea after all. "Will I see you again?" To hell with it! She felt a connection to this person, he made her feel 'normal' and she was not about to lose that.

"One of these days," and with that he was gone.

It was an unsatisfying answer, like saying "Maybe or maybe not", but it was enough. It wasn't a definite yes, but neither was it no, there was hope and she was going to cling to it.

Hoshi stood before the house again. The sun was setting, all the colors had gone from vibrant to soft and subdued, she quite liked this palette. As she was capturing every minute detail for later, she couldn't very well wipe out her sketchbook now, someone emerged from one of the rooms.

"Oh, Hoshi-chan!" Hana called with a cheerful sound. "Welcome home."

Was this a first time? Judging by the tears that were desperate to break free, Hoshi concluded that, yes, this was the first time. No one was ever there to welcome her.

"I—" she forced back the tears with a smile. She was moving forward, and she was doing it now. "I'm home."