Title: Before the clock struck twelve.

Fandom: Spirited Away

Author: Silver Queen

Genre: Angst-general

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: Spirited away does not belong to me in any way, shape or form.

Summary: One-shot A Chihiro/Haku reunion. As promised they meet again, but it is  a meeting that neither expected.


   

    An aged Chihiro sat staring at her cup of tea. So this is it; this is the end? She though draining the dregs and slowly and painfully getting up to put the cup in the sink.

    She was going to die tonight.

    The thought didn't worry her; she had lived her life. A long one too, she mused. At the ripe old age of 83 something just didn't bother you that much anymore.

    But she wouldn't go until her visitor arrived.

    didn't have to wait long; two quick knocks on the door announced his presence and for a moment she forgot the pain associated with moving in the sheer joy of seeing him once again.

    He hasn't changed, was her only thought. Indeed he hadn't. He was exactly the same as she remembered, right down to the blue pants and white shirt he wore.

    "Haku," she greeted warmly, motioning him inside.

    He stared into her face, a face so full of wrinkles that marked the passing of time and she wondered if this was what he expected. She saw no revulsion though and he came inside, walking with the same silent grace she remembered.

    "Come to sit with me on my death-bed, have you?" she asked. Chihiro didn't fear death; it wasn't that she knew what would happen once her body stopped breathing but she bet it involved the spirit world. Death might have just been another gateway between the worlds.

    Kohaku winced and she wished she could take her harsh words back.

    "I should have come sooner," he said, regret in his eyes.

    "It doesn't matter," she said and it didn't. When she was younger she had desperately waited for him, all the while convincing herself that he didn't exist. Age had put a lot of things into perspective; the spirit world existed and she would be unable to return. "If you couldn't come, you couldn't come."

    He nodded, faint relief in his eyes and she wondered if he knew she could still read him that well. He probably doesn't, she summarized, or he would try harder to keep things hidden.

    "I missed you," he said and she believed him. He had missed her as she had missed him but the gap between them was too large; it was never meant to be breached. His immortal to her mortal, his spirit to her human; there were millions of things keeping them apart but they all boiled down to one thing: Death.

    And yet, here they were, united once again on the eve of her death.

    The clock struck eleven and she looked at it surprised, but not shocked; it was almost time.

    She stood, and with Haku to aid her, moved through the house to her bed; it was almost time and she was getting sleepy.

    Once she had lain down he stood around looking awkward and painfully helpless.

    "I'm sorry," he said turning his beautiful green eyes to hers. She didn't need him to explain; he was sorry that he hadn't come sooner, sorry that he could not stop her from dying.

    "Don't be," she whispered hoarsely, struggling no to cry; it was a lost battle. "Could you... change?" she asked. And he did.

    If she was having trouble fighting tears before this stopped the battle completely; salty liquid ran down her cheeks.

    He looked so achingly familiar; if she had forgotten, even for a moment, what he had looked like in dragon form she knew she never would again. His green and white form would be engraved in her memory for as long as her memory existed.

    She reached out and ran her had across the side of his face; he moved slightly to make it easier on her. In those last moments of her life Chihiro tried to memorize everything about him; from the softness of his fur to the way he carried himself, so regal and sure.

    With a sigh she dropped her hand back to the bed - slack and useless – and without her asking, knowing in a way that was uniquely Haku, he changed back.

    She stared into his green eyes – green eyes filled with tears – and felt the darkness edging in; the numbness stole across her limbs and she let out her last breath.

    Just moments before the clock struck twelve Chihiro slipped away from life locked in the green-eyed embrace of the one who had stolen her heart yet given her so much more.


It wasn't supposed to be that morbid ... honest.