(A/N) An inappropriate title perhaps, but the best one I could come up with, inappropriate because it's really too long to be an epilogue. So why have I chosen to write an epilogue? Well I was not too sure if I was ready to commit to a full-blown sequel, but also my mailbox keeps filling up with requests for more chapters from VELF. I must admit I have missed writing and I felt that after reading over my own work once more there was something missing. I ended Courage of the Spirit not long after I got Chihiro and Haku together and I now feel that I have missed an entire plot theme.
Surely it can't be easy to love a Dragon/God? Normal relationships are hard enough, how many more problems would Chihiro and Haku have to cope with? So that's the main theme of this story. Thiswill bea window into a few more days in Chihiro's new life in the spirit world. As you will see, being a human among immortals can be a bit frustrating at times. As always I've tried to inject realism into fantasy, this has meant upping the rating a bit, sorry folks had to be done. Not much action for you adrenalin junkies, but fluff abounds.
Chihiro wandered along the dark hallway humming to herself. Clutched in her hands she held two leather-bound volumes. She was practically skipping down the corridor. Later perhaps she would celebrate her triumph with her sisters, though she would have to "borrow" some snowberry wine from Haku as she had precious little vodka left. Linca would probably mix up some sort of deadly cocktail, with Rin's assistance. Chihiro grinned to herself; Rin had really fallen into Linca's slightly depraved ways. The spirit woman had little tolerance for alcohol and moaned terribly when she had a hangover. Haku had said that the next time the "girls" decided to have a night in together he would force feed them all his preferred hangover cure of eels viscera, before they stated drinking.
"It's purely a pre-emptive measure you understand," he had said haughtily. Chihiro had tried to pinch him but he had just disappeared.
"Coward," she mumbled to herself. Then her smile returned; what penalty would he exact if he found her "borrowing" his very rare and expensive wine? That could turn out to be more fun than spending the night with her sisters.
Things were going well between herself and the dragon. There were difficulties; of course there were. For one thing, their temperaments were vastly different. She had a temper like quicksilver, but she was quick to forgive and to say sorry. He was slow to anger and as unpredictable as the weather when he was in a mood. He also had a tendency to hold the odd grudge. She had adapted to his moods and had started to devise ways to bring him out of them; or even better she could now avoid some of his flashpoints altogether. She still found him exasperating at times. The arrogance of the immortal was something that really got under her skin. If she heard the phrase "Only Human" one more time, she would go insane. He was also fiercely protective of her and she found that a little stifling at times. However, none of these things mattered when he kissed her. Chihiro was sure, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that he was the person she had been born to kiss. She shrugged inwardly.
"Who am I to argue with my fate, especially when she has been so kind to me of late?" As she approached Haku's quarters, the door opened and Bou stumbled out.
"Sen!" the over-sized baby cried, throwing his arms wide. Chihiro laughed and hugged him with one arm, unwilling to drop her precious books.
"Oh, it's good to see you, Bou!" She sighed. It had been at least three months since Bou had gone to live with Zeniba; she had not seen him since. He had started to lose some of his chubbiness and downy dark hair was starting to grow on his head. Chihiro guessed that he would not be a baby for much longer.
"Auntie Zeniba brought me for a visit. Can we play later? I'm going to my old room and Auntie said I could pack some more of my toys to bring back with us. Will you help me?" babbled the baby.
"Of course, I'd be glad to help." Chihiro patted Bou's arm. "But I have a meeting with Haku first." Bou's face clouded.
"Is he nice to you? Dragons can be nasty you know. You could always come and live with Auntie and me." Chihiro smiled, touched and amused at Bou's concern for her.
"He is very nice to me and if he even thinks of being nasty I'll beat him senseless…"
"Oh, really?" drawled a low masculine voice. Chihiro turned to see Haku leaning casually against the doorframe. The sight of him still had the power to make her pulse hammer. Tall, lithe and graceful in body, with a fine boned angular face and generous lips. His greenish black hair had a tendency to fall into his brilliantly jade green eyes. He crossed his arms and raised an eyebrow. "It's nice to know where I stand. I guess I better start behaving myself unless I want to be beaten to a bloody pulp." Chihiro chuckled at him; she knew that the dangerous tone he was using was merely bravado.
"Don't behave too much." She grinned at him and then turned her voice sultry and fluttered her eyelashes at him. "I like it when you're bad." She laughed to herself again and a crooked smile touched the dragon's lips. Bou frowned. Whatever they were talking about it seemed a bit silly to him. If they were in love, and his Auntie had assured him that they were, then he was never going to fall in love. It made you quite crazy.
"Well," he mumbled uncertainly. "I'm going now." And he ambled away. Chihiro poked Haku playfully in the stomach with her free hand.
"You wicked old dragon, must you intimidate all my friends?" He smiled gently and touched her face, tenderly running his fingers across her cheek and down her neck. She shuddered with delight.
"I don't like sharing you," he whispered. "I am jealous of every moment you spend with others." He caught her around the waist pulling her to him. "I've decided that you should have less friends. Your sisters you can keep because they are impossible to intimidate, but your other acquaintances must be removed. Your time is far to divided; I should be the centre of your universe. You are my property and you shall do as you are told." He tightened his grip, pressing himself against her.
"Well," she said lightly, "when have you ever known me to do as I am told? I may be persuaded however. A couple of bottles of your wine would be a good start. After a few years and some very expensive gifts, who knows? I may even obey you." He chuckled; she felt the pleasant sound vibrate in his chest. He bent his head to kiss her and she tipped her own head up in the expectation of his soft lips on hers, she let her eyes flutter closed.
"UH!" The sudden noise made her jump. Her head snapped around in the direction of the sound. It was only then that Chihiro realised that they were not alone. No-face was hovering in the shadows of Haku's office and Zeniba was seated at Haku's desk. The old witch was ginning from ear to ear, her plate sized brown eyes where wide and held a mischievous glint. She seemed to have been quite content to watch Chihiro and Haku without announcing her presence. Chihiro nodded her thanks to No-Face and glared at the witch.
"Don't mind me," simpered Zeniba, "please continue."
Haku did not seem at all affected by the witches spying. "Thank you," he said coolly. "I was going to do so anyway but it's nice to have your endorsement." Before Chihiro could protest he took her face firmly in his hands and planted a deliberately sloppy and wet kiss on her mouth. She pulled away from him and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.
"Yuck!" she exclaimed, "I know you can do better than that." He gave her a meaningful look.
"Later, we have company." She pulled a face at him. Another chair appeared by Zeniba. Chihiro sat and Haku returned to his own chair on the opposite side of his mahogany desk. Chihiro looked down at her hands; they were empty. She also knew who the culprit was for the sly theft. Haku snapped his figures and her account books appeared before him. He flipped through the books quickly, reading at an incredible speed. After two minutes of complete silence he looked up at her and smiled.
"I'm impressed, I could not have sorted out the mess Yubaba left, she had a "unique" way of book keeping to say the least. You are to be congratulated I think."
"Thank you," she mumbled and inwardly glowed at his praise.
"So," he said leaning back. "We are basically doing better than we ever have. Since Yubaba's disappearance we are making an obscene amount of money."
"Don't think that she will never return Haku. She's just biding her time," said Zeniba darkly.
"I have always assumed she would return," said Haku, "If she returned tomorrow she would be welcomed back. She did after all helpbuild this place and is an intrinsic part of it." He paused and frowned. "However, if she turns up with a small army and demands I leave, she will receive quite another welcome."
Chihiro grinned to herself. She knew it was probably childish but she quite liked it when Haku was serious and threatening. It made her more feminine side melt when she saw his eyes glow with green fire and he would bear his teeth slightly without realising it. He was dangerous she supposed and she should probably not appreciate his more feral tendencies the way she did; but she knew she was perfectly safe. He would never harm her. Besides if he even thought about it her sisters would kill him. Rin was a deadly fighter with almost any weapon, but she did not really need one, her hands and feet could inflict just as much damage. Also Linca would protect her, she could scold him to death. Chihiro's grin widened at that particular image. Haku continued his conversation with Zeniba unaware of the inward battle Chihiro was waging with herself, desperately trying not to laugh out loud.
"I was given this position by the Old Ones themselves. I do not intend to give it up to your sister. I'm sure there is a good reason I am here, they just have not informed me." Suddenly he looked around and Chihiro received the full force of his displeased gaze. She covered her mouth with her hands and her shoulders shook.
"What are you smiling at? It's very distracting. I am trying to be serious Chihiro. Depending on how Yubaba acts we could have a war on our hands." Chihiro did her best to stifle a giggle but it came out as a snort. The image of Haku being scolded into submission by Linca would not leave her mind. He rolled his eyes to the ceiling.
"Humans!" he muttered. Chihiro finally managed to master herself once more and asked the question that had been hanging over her all week.
"So now I've finished the accounts what will I do?" Haku raised an eyebrow.
"Well you have a lesson with Rin in an hour." It was her turn to roll her eyes.
"You know exactly what I mean Haku," she sighed.
"She will need new employment, she can't be my sisters assistant with my sister not here," said Zeniba. Haku rubbed his chin.
"I guess she will just have to be my assistant," he mused. Chihiro's jaw dropped in surprise.
"Well, I see this will be an amicable partnership," said Zeniba rising. "Where not a stroke of work will ever get done. Good thing that your sisters will pick up the slack Chihiro." Chihiro blushed scarlet; Haku however seemed impervious to the witches teasing.
"Your rooms are ready," he said politely to the witch. "Feel free to stay as long as you like." Zeniba bowed.
"You are a gracious host as always Haku, but I would like to ask you one small favour."
"Name it," he replied.
"That you release my granddaughter from your jealous clutches long enough for her to take tea with myself, Bou and No-Face this afternoon."
"I'll see what I can do," he said coolly. Chihiro rose and hugged Zeniba.
"Of course I'll be there, don't listen to him." She showed the witch to the door and closed it behind her.
As soon as the door clicked shut she found herself spun around and pinned against the wood.
"There has to be a less dramatic way to get my attention," said Chihiro steadily. Haku grinned wolfishly, his face inches from hers; his hands were flat against the door either side of her head.
"This way is more fun," he whispered. "It makes your blood race and your heart flutter." She was getting used to his perceptiveness too. It no longer embarrassed her that he knew when she was excited or angry, the Tac'Tal was the bane of her life for a few short weeks, telling him every strong emotion that she had. However the tables had turned when she realised the thing worked both ways, she was slowly learning to use it to her advantage. But that was not the only problem she had, Haku was an expert at reading body language and apparently her scent gave a lot away too. Nonetheless his announcements that she was lying or that she was hiding things from him no longer threw her. She simply smiled and ignored him, which drove him crazy.
"How do you know," she said conversationally, "that what you feel are not the symptoms of revulsion?" His green eyes devoured her face and he leant closer.
"If it was revulsion," he whispered, "you would not moan when I did this."
His lips moved down her neck to the base of her throat where he started to employ his tongue in some very interesting ways. She bit her lip and tried not to make a sound, but when he started to work his way back up her neck and nibbled gently on her ear lobe, she groaned. He immediately turned his attention to her lips. After being thoroughly kissed to within an inch of her life, she wiggled away from him.
"Enough!" she gasped, trying to get her breath back. "You win, I like it when you pin me against vertical surfaces." He smiled lazily and slipped his arm around her waist.
"Now," he purred, "Why couldn't you just admit that in the first place?"
"It's more fun this way," she said echoing his earlier words.
He chuckled and said, "What are you going to do to fill the time before your lesson?"
"I was going to see Linca, but as it seems you are not going to let go of me any time soon, I guess I'm staying here."
He smirked and said, "My training of you is starting to pay off, I see." She scowled at him. "Your afternoon is full and I won't see you again until tonight. As your new employer I demand that you start spending more time at work." She kissed him tenderly.
"Play fair, you have to learn to share with others. You would not want to displease my sisters. "
"Lady forbid," he whispered. He lifted her up and deposited her in his chair where the account books where neatly stacked one top of the other. Neither of them noticed and soon the books where hopelessly dog-eared and torn. When she finally did notice Chihiro found that she did not really care that three months work had just been ruined. She did not work for Yubaba anymore anyway.
A/N-thanks to my wonderful friend Sylvia for going through this with me. You're a pal.