Title: On a Bridge
Day/Theme: 11th September/"a guise of gentle words"
Series: Spirited Away
Character/Pairing: Haku/Chihiro
Rating: PG

"This river was great, once," Haku said suddenly. He was leaning over the rail of the bridge, reaching down to the still waters far below with a graceful hand. The shade of the trees, grown close and thick together, shadowed his face. Chihiro looked at him, but his attention was on the river; his eyes were dark and sad and the half-smile that he usually wore around her was gone from his mouth. His hair was falling forward, brushing his chin; she pushed it back behind his ear.

"What happened?" she asked, although she could guess at the answer.

"Humans have poisoned him, little by little," Haku replied. He straightened up and placed his hands back on the rail. "It won't be long now."

Chihiro closed her eyes. Her heart ached for the lost beauty and the sorrow in Haku's face and she tried to remember what the Kohaku River had looked like when seen from above on a bridge like this. "That's terrible," she said finally, her voice quiet.

"Yes," Haku agreed softly.

"Is that – " Chihiro stopped, embarrassed. She had never felt able to ask, and going behind Haku's back to find out seemed like a betrayal.

"No." Haku turned his head to smile reassuringly at her. "That is not how my river was taken from me."

"Which would be better?" she almost asked, but neither would be any better than the other, would it, now?

"Chihiro?" Haku's fingers touched her cheek gently, a feather-light stroke, once, twice, three times.

"Let's go home," she said, taking his other hand in hers.

"Yes," said Haku, and he smiled again.