"Whatever you do, don't look back."
"We'll meet again, I promise."
"Don't look back..."
The river spirit tossed and turned as an old dream plauged him. It was the same one he had been having since she went back home, 8 years ago. He had known her since she was a child. She had dropped her little pink shoe in his river, then fell in trying to retrieve it. There were many humans in his river that day, and he paid them little mind, until she fell in. To this day he didn't know what possessed him to carry her to shallow waters.
He sighed and thought about when they met again. He was just getting back from a mission for Yubaba, the witch of the bath house, when he sensed humans in the spirit world. Unheard of, even in his very long lifetime. He went to investigate and found a young girl wandering around. Instantly it felt as if his very soul recognized her. He told her to leave before sun down, but it was too late. Her parents ate the food for the spirits and were turned to pigs. He saved her from disappearing and instructed her to get a job. After Yubaba took her name, much like she took everyone elses, he helped her remember that her name wasn't Sen. It was -
"Chihiro" he whispered her name to himself.
What did she do to him? What power did a mere human have on a powerful River Dragon? Even as he asked himself the questions he knew his answer.
He had been cruel to her. After assuring her that he was her friend, he was cruel to her. When Yubaba gave her a job she summoned him. Chihiro tried to talk to him but he snapped at her not to talk to him, and to call him Master Haku. She looked on the verge of tears and he had to fight hard to keep his expressionless face. He knew that he hurt her feelings, and for some reason the thought made him want to hurt himself. Even after all that she believed in him. The others at the bathhouse always told her what he had done, how he was Yubaba's henchman and she shouldn't believe anything he said. Yet she did believe him. She saved him when he got sick from stealing Yubaba's sister's Zeniba's golden seal. Her love for him had broke the spell on it. Then she returned the seal to Zeniba and plead for her forgiveness on his behalf. Not only that but she had figured out his name.
"Nigihayami Kohaku Nushi" he whispered to himself.
He had tried to get back to his river countless times, but it was filled up, of course, a river never really died, it was running underground now, but he couldn't use it to get to the human world, to her.
"Haku! Hakuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu HAK-" he door burst open and Lin ran in. "Zeniba sent a message, it stormed last night in the human world. By your river"
"And?" Haku asked cooly, even though he got along with Lin, she knew he didn't like hearing about the human world.
"Don't you get it you dolt? It stormed so bad that the apartments flooded, the water got underground and swelled, your river burst free. Haku, your river is above ground again, and it's still raining."
Haku sighed, "Lin, even if I get to the human world through my river I can't walk along the human world, I have to remain in my river, which means that SHE needs to be at my river for me to see her again."
Lin's face fell. "Maybe she'll be at the river." she said hopefully.
"Lin it's raining, and why would she go back to the river that she almost drowned in?"
"To see you again." Lin said hopefully.
"She's probably forgotten about me know" Haku sighed.
Chihiro was speechless, Nagiori, her boyfriend of three years was down on one knee. He had just asked her to marry him. Chihiro didn't know what to say.
"I'm only 18" she barely got out.
"I know, I'm not saying we have to get married right away, but, you're beautiful. I want you to wear my ring on your finger so others know that you belong to me." he told her.
"And a T-shirt wouldn't work?" she flinched when the words came out. In truth she didn't want to be engaged. She still dreamt of him every night. "Haku" she whispered.
"Chihiro? Earth to Chihiro!" Nagiori stood up. "So is that a no?"
"I'm sorry." she told him. "I'm just not ready to be engaged."
"Alright, want me to take you home?" he asked.
They climbed in the car and drove in silence. Finally Chihiro couldn't stand it and she flicked on the radio. "In other news, the heavy rains continue to cause havok."
"Our house almost got flooded, luckily we aren't by a river" Nagiori told her, "All the rivers are swelling, even those that haven't been seen in decades."
Chihiro pretended like the news didn't excite her, "Thank goodness you're away from the river" she mumbled and turned up the radio when the announcer mentioned her old town.
"The apartment complex that were built on the filled in Kohaku River are flooded. Tenants say that they did everything to prevent it, but the water seemed to come from the ground up. In other news, American representatives state-" Chihiro flicked off the radio. She seemed deep in thought.
"Remember Chihiro, I am your friend"
"I've known you since you were very little"
"You don't remember your name?" "No, but for some reason I remember yours"
"Chihiro, I remember you falling into the river, and I remember your little pink shoe."
"We'll see each other again, I promise"
"Whatever you do don't look back"
"Chihiro! Earth the Chihiro, we're here" Nagiori said and unlocked the door. Chihiro was stunned, they were like thirty minutes away, had she really blanked out for that long?
"Oh thanks" she muttered and climbed out of the car. Nagiori sped off as soon as she closed the door. Chihiro winced, great, he was mad at her.
She couldn't stop thinking about the Kohaku River. Without thinking she climbed in her car and drove the long way to her old town and to the apartment complex. She was in shock at what she saw.