Fabric of the Heart

Chihiro sighed as she turned her gaze towards the balcony view. Her eyes took in the stretching train tracks, which faded away into the distance, the glittering cerulean water and the darkening sky. A soft smile graced her features as she recalled her return to the Spirit world a few years ago, when she had found herself standing at the entrance gate after mindless wandering. A frown destroyed her smile as the memories of her parents death flittered through her mind, causing Chihiro's fingers to subconsciously grip the blanket draped loosely over her form. Brunette locks flicked in a wild halo as she tried to shake the haunting thoughts away. Stop it, besides you still have lots of people who care for you! She chastised herself, resolving to think no more on the subject for the remainder of the night. Besides, Haku will be here soon. The smile returned, stretching across her face with the thought.

Memories assaulted Chihiro as his name echoed in her head. Memories of her first time in the spirit world, and her return. A light blush filled her cheeks; tainting them a pale rose colour as Haku's proclamation of love for her was whispered in her ears by voices of the past. Stretching slightly, Chihiro allowed herself to be immersed in the memory, a contented expression on her face.

The breeze ruffled her hair, spreading it through the wind. Chihiro snuggled closer in Haku's embrace as a shiver sprinted down her spine, nuzzling her head against his chest. His arms were wound around her body mimicking the actions of his coiling dragon form. "Cold, Chihiro?" he asked causing her to stir from her drowsy trance. She gazed up at his face with half-lidded eyes, taking in his concerned expression that he was trying, unsuccessfully to mask. "A little," she mumbled, settling back in her previous position. A gentle rubbing flowing down her back and then travelling up slowly began to warm her, and the soothing rhythm of Haku's hands repeating the motion caused her to relax again. Chihiro began to drift off into the realms of sleep when she felt the softest pressure briefly touch her forehead. Rousing herself, her eyelids slowly revealed her questioning gaze as she took in Haku, who seemed to have the faintest dusting of crimson on his cheeks. "Haku, what was that?" Chihiro muttered her voice soft and thick with sleep. Haku adjusted his arms and placed a hand on her head, gently encouraging her to rest her head back on his chest. She complied, but his hand never left and moved to cradle her face, while his fingertips stroked her skin. "It was me Chihiro. It was a kiss."

"But why?" Chihiro asked confused. There was no denying she was thrilled with the knowledge but there were other women here, spirit ones who were prettier than her…

"Because I lo-"

A gentle nudging on her shoulder brought her out of her reverie. "What….?" Chihiro exclaimed startled, before turning over to face whatever was behind her. A large dragon stood there, with scales the colour of snow, and a mane the colour of wild oceans. His snout was close to where her shoulder had just been and jade green eyes met her hazel ones. A large grin formed on her lips, and Chihiro reached up an arm, resting her hand on his snout. Instantly, the dragon's eyes closed and a strange rumbling purr filled the room. "Hello Haku." She greeted, adjusting her body to form a sitting position. Haku pulled away from the warmth of her hand, and coiled himself around her, his head hovering over her left shoulder. Chihiro giggled and resumed scratching the scaly muzzle. A contented sound bubbled from Haku's throat. Suddenly, Chihiro's hand paused in its ministrations and a puzzled frown marred her features. "Haku, what've you got there?" she asked moving her fingers to an object clamped in the dragon's jaws.

Haku eased open his jaw as her fingertips grasped the object and slowly pulled. A small leather rectangle sat in her palm and Chihiro flipped the worn cover open. Yellowing pages greeted her, the black ink slightly faded but still legible. "Haku, what…?" she asked looking up at the spirit with confusion. The dragon leaned down and nudged the book back to the cover, tapping the worn leather with his nose. Narrowing her gaze, Chihiro started to make out the small faded gold, sepia characters. "St..ories ..of..the…sp..ir..its" She read gradually, speaking the words as she figured out part of the writing. "Stories of the Spirits." She repeated clearly and more firmly, sure of the title. "I don't understand." Chihiro said her eyes still laced with bewilderment. Haku once again leaned his head down and gradually flipped the pages until they came to rest on a story entitled Saiko. Comprehension lit in Chihiro's eyes with disbelief coating her voice she asked "Are you trying to tell me, that you want me to read you a story?" The spirit of the Kohaku River nodded vigorously, his mane swirling in the air.

Shrugging, Chihiro moved into a more comfortable position, resting her back against the sleek muscle and smooth scales of Haku. He adjusted his head so that it rested on her soft shoulder, and relaxed as her voice told the tale of Saiko, a frog who annoyed the other spirits and eventually was summoned to see the kindly wise spirit. Eventually, Chihiro reached the end of the tale and closed the book, a contented dragon still using her shoulder as a cushion. A yawn escaped her lips, and upon hearing it, Haku shifted his head and positioned his body to form more of a cradle. She set the book down and reached up to press her lips against Haku's white dragon cheek. "Goodnight my lovely river spirit," she grinned before settling down against his form. Haku nuzzled her forehead, his breath ruffling her brown tresses. Her body relaxed quickly in it's snuggled up position, and Chihiro felt herself drift into sleep with the rising and falling of Haku's body as he breathed forming her lullaby.

Haku watched as his human fell into sleep's abyss, liking how she felt resting against him. A warm feeling spread through his heart at the thought and he smiled with the knowledge that she would be safe and protected with him forming her bed. Any spirit would be a fool to try and harm her when confronted with a dragon Haku smirked. The book she'd set down caught his gaze, and the warm feeling arose again when he thought back to how she'd read to him, despite her obvious confusion. He had been feeling nostalgic earlier, re-calling how his long forgotten family had told him stories, and a sudden yearning had crept upon him to hear the tales again. The dragon smiled down at Chihiro knowing why he had desperately desired to hear the words of those ancient stories tumble from her mouth. She is my family now. With that final thought, Haku set his head down and joined his love in their dreams, his heart aglow with bliss.

Written for a challenge where one of the requirements was to include an annoying frog called Saiko, so that's where his story comes from! Hope you enjoyed.