A/N- Okay. So I decided to write a Spirited away Fic on a complete whim. Haku/Chihiro ftw! I love those two so much.
It had been seven years. Seven years since Chihiro Ogino had made her life changing visit to the Spirit world.
Seven years since she had seen him.
Her mother and father had noticed a drastic change in Chihiro shortly after the incident. They couldn't remember anything about it, nor did they want to speak of it, but they could not deny that after their trip to the abandoned theme park where they had lost a month of their lives. They couldn't explain it. Nobody could. Chihiro had simply smiled when they asked her, and had stated that they 'would not believe her' if she told them. They had seen their ten year old change from a clingy little sullen girl to a mature, respectful young lady. It was if she had just changed overnight. She would willingly do her chores without complaint, she didn't complain about anything and she had taken up art, a subject she previously had no patience for. It was almost as if her spirit had changed.
Though Chihiro had changed and matured in many ways, her parents had noticed something else about her which had changed in such a way it puzzled them. Chihiro hated adventures. She was scared easily, and didn't like the mention of supernatural forces. Her father mentioning them would often cause her to cry out and cover her ears. Yet, for some reason, the paranormal and spirits became an obsession of sorts with her. She had sunk into a dream world, drawing boys with jade eyes, soot balls with limbs, black spirits without faces, and more recently, she had finished a beautiful drawing of a white dragon with a long jade mane.
She would daydream more frequently, zoning out when people talked to her as she stared out of the window, lost in her own little world, and two months after the 'theme park incident', as her parents liked to call it, the nightmares began.
Chihiro never told her parents what her nightmares were about. She would simply wave away their concern with subdued chestnut eyes, and would apologize for waking them with her screams. A wedge had been driven between Chihiro and her parents, and that saddened all three of them, though all tried to hide their emotions on the matter.
This detachment from her parents was the key component in Chihiro not telling them about her school and the reason she hated it so much. Granted, when she first began to attend at ten years of age, she had made a few quick friends, which allowed her to try and focus her mind on reality for a while. However, this was when she became the target of school bullies, and her 'friends' began to drift away, not wanting to be involved in their future confrontations. Seven years passed, and at seventeen, the bullying had only worsened. Not just in intensity, but in entirety. The bullying became a part of Chihiro's daily routine. She could handle the physical pain induced by the punches, but when the bullies induced the emotional pain on her, that was when she had to resort to desperate measures to contain her pain. That was when she called out Sen.
Stony faced and mature, the Sen division of her brain was there to deal with the emotional pain the bullies brought along. Chihiro tried to converge everything she had learned from the spirit world into this figment she had created. If she could handle Yubaba's emotional torment, then Sen could easily handle the bullies emotional torment.
However, even Sen couldn't stop the wave of pain and agony Chihiro felt at their most recent attack. That day, they had broken the both of them completely. They had caught her sketching, and she had inwardly cursed herself at her stupidity and carelessness. She was only supposed to draw when she was at home to avoid confrontations such as this.
Having taken her sketchbook forcibly from her arms, the ringleader of the group, Kasumi had come across her beautiful dragon limn. Kasumi had read the immediate panic which had crossed Chihiro's face, and with a cruel smile upon her face, she had torn the image in two, allowing the two pieces to float aimlessly to the ground.
Her heart had shattered upon seeing the dragon, her dragon ripped in two on the ground, and she had felt Sen let out an agonized cry within her. It was like they were stamping on her memories, destroying all of her hopes and her dreams. She had almost forgotten what her dragon had looked like. It had been seven years after all. This depiction was her only means of remembering, and she had taken so long to draw it, each feature matching perfectly to her already fading memory.
The bullies had looked slightly stunned at the hot tears which spilled down Chihiro's cheeks at this point. They fell to the ground haphazardly, and the brunette sunk to her knees, pulling the ruined image pieces towards her, an expression of utter despair on her face. Kasumi simply stared at her, unsympathetic, whereas her posse glanced around at each other warily. It was a well known fact Chihiro Ogino did not cry. Seeing her breakdown in such a way sent a message to all of them with a overwhelming sense of guilt. They had broken her.
Chihiro had ripped her sketchbook away from Kasumi at this point, and had run as fast as her legs could carry her. She held back the choking despair that threatened to overwhelm her and ran straight to the place she knew no-one would find her. Her river.
It was the only place she could feel close to the spirit world. Close to him. Water was a well known liminal zone to the spirit world, and being here made her feel like she was almost a part of it once again. It was not his river. It was not the Kohaku River. But it was the only river she had.
Tears fell down her cheeks rapidly, the salt stinging her eyes, causing her to whimper and cry out a little bit louder, rubbing at them furiously with her fists. She felt like a timid ten year old again, scared of everything, crying at every opportunity. It was as if all her strength, her barricades she had built up in the spirit world had been shattered, her confidence dissipating along with it.
She sat on her knees by the steady flowing, clear river, a weeping willow shading her from the harsh heat of the sun, trying to protect her. Her torn dragon lay on the ground beside her, and she couldn't bring herself to look at it, a childish voice inside of her saying it was over. It was time to forget.
But she missed him. She missed him so much.
"You promised" Chihiro managed to cry out, the words stuttering slightly through her sobs, her shoulders shaking as they racked her petite body. She hung her head, digging her fingers into the lush green grass, as if it would stop the pain she felt, and the tears fell onto her clenched fists, creating a tiny river of their own.
Chihiro looked up, her breath catching in her throat as she heard the voice call out her name. Her eyes stung even more from the salt of her tears, blurring her vision, so she reached up an arm and rubbed it across her eyes hurriedly, scrubbing the worst of the tears away.
"He-Hello?" she called out, looking around hesitantly. No-one was around, but could have sworn she heard someone speak her name…
The brunette stared at the river in silence, listening to the water run over the rocks, the sound easing her worried mind slightly. She wondered briefly if she was losing her sanity. Maybe Kasumi had finally done it. A lone tear slipped down her cheek as she reflected on the day's events.
A soft gasp broke through her lips as she felt something cool press against her cheek, wiping her tear away with a tender caress. A soft chuckle resonated in her ears from the air around her, and the voice whispered her name once more, but this time close to her ear. She knew that voice.
"Haku?" she murmured, hardly daring to believe it. The summer breeze lightly blew her bangs away from her face, and Chihiro felt the invisible hand brush against her cheek once more, and the teenager let out a small sigh, closing her eyes as pure bliss washed over her body, cleansing her mind of all other thought.
She tried to imagine Haku in front of her, his hand carefully curving her cheek, his intense Jade eyes locked onto hers as he whispered her name.
"Haku…" she breathed, this time in an accepting tone. The wind blew past her gently, wrapping around her almost in a hug, and she could almost hear it laughing joyfully as her invisible Haku lightly stroked her cheek. If this was insanity, she would welcome it with open arms. The hand felt cool against her warm cheek, like running water over her skin, washing her troubles away.
'I'm sorry Chihiro…' The phantom voice whispered, and Chihiro wanted to cry again at how broken the voice sounded.
"It's okay" she murmured, shivering slightly as the hand moved to brush against one of her bangs lightly before moving down to cup her chin with two gentle fingers.
'Open your eyes' the voice begged, and Chihiro felt herself wanting to protest. If she opened her eyes, she would lose the image of Haku in her mind. She didn't want to break away from his eyes, she didn't want to break the illusion…She didn't want to be alone.
The voice sounded stronger now, louder. Almost as if it was real. Chihiro found herself unable to resist the voice and opened her eyes, only to have them lock onto familiar jade ones which seemed to be searching her entire soul.
Chihiro felt her breath catch in her throat as she reached up, trailing her own trembling fingers along his cheeks, willing herself to hold back the tears. A single finger traced along the outline of his lips and she felt her heart expand as the corners of his lips curved upwards, allowing a smile to grace his features.
"Chihiro" he sighed. He lightly ran his fingers through her hair, his eyes searching her face in an almost hungry manner, as if he was drinking in every feature.
"You're real" Chihiro whispered, her hands moving down to touch his shoulders before moving back up to his face. Her eyes never left his. "I'm not going insane. You're real…"
He laughed quietly, and the sound lifted Chihiro's heart even more, causing another tear to slip down her cheek, a small, happy sob breaking through her lips before she could stop it.
"I'm sorry I didn't come sooner" he apologized, running a slender finger along the curve of her cheek. "But Spirit world time works differently to yours, and it took my a while to enhance my magic enough to materialize in this world, and even now, I'm only strong enough to appear where there is water"
"I understand" Chihiro mumbled, leaning forward to lightly press her cheek beside his, sighing in contentment at the cool texture of his skin against hers. She felt his arms encircle her and could feel his breath upon her ear, causing her to shiver lightly. "I'm just so happy to see you…"
Haku pulled back, lightly resting his forehead against hers. "I'll work harder" he promised, his eyes staring into hers with a fierce determination. "I'll improve my magic until I'm strong enough to fully materialize in this world."
"I will wait for you" Chihiro whispered, resting her hands on his shoulders lightly. "I promise"
Haku smiled at her, moving forward to lightly press his lips against hers. Like the rest of him, his lips were cool, and Chihiro felt herself melting into his embrace under the protective shelter of the willow.
She would wait forever.