Thanks to a bear, Michiko escapes and makes it to the bus stop where Keita’s siblings are fretting. After a crying session, she goes out to look for him, enlisting the help of Momou, and finds him passed out and bleeding. Momiji extracts fortune from her – enough to heal Keita, who wakes up in the morning with Michiko sleeping on him. The family goes home, and the next night, Michiko escapes. Momou and Bobby fetch the Aging Box for her, and she changes back to Ichiko. She’s then down in the dumps for several days, confounding Momiji & Co., until she finally gathers the courage to return Keita’s hanky, and returns to normal.
Safely behind her shield of little-kidhood, Ichiko enjoys being a part of the family she derided and insulted as a high schooler as a result of her inexperience dealing with anyone less fortunate than her (which is pretty much everyone). When Keita’s accident separates him from them, she shares in that drama and is compelled to act to preserve their family. She may outwardly say she’s doing it so she isn’t saddled with that bunch of troublesome kids, but she’s really doing it out of momentary, genuine compassion. Her body may have shrunk, but her heart grew. Then she’s back to normal, and suffers ‘family withdrawal’, of a kind.
After all that time surrounded by love and noise, she looks lonely and lost – nothing the celestial squatters do will faze her. It’s a load that’s lifted off her mind once she returns the hanky Keita gave her as Michiko. She not only feared that he’d realize the little kid was her (he didn’t, he’s not the sharpest tack), but was probably also worried about getting drawn back into that house – even though in her regular form, they’re not really big fans of her. So, lesson learned for Ichiko: some people have nothing she has, but everything she doesn’t – but it shouldn’t be – and isn’t – a simple case of ‘n’er the twain shall meet’.