The wind blew graciously and every single blade of grasses and flowers in the wild meadow seemed to bend slightly as a bow to acknowledge the boy's presence.
"Chihiro." he kindly reiterated her name as he walked closer.
Chihiro's heartbeat quickened with anticipation when he stopped in front of her, not too close and not too far, always just right. Sharp green eyes and hair were different yet the same. His presence was strong and still gave her the familiar sense of safety from just being here. Chihiro wasn't sure whether he had changed or he had not but many things about him were constant, always calm and kind, always older and taller.
Always just right.
Chihiro felt like she should be surprised but she was not.
"Haku." she breathed out his name and smiled whole-heartedly at the boy before looking around, "What is this?"
"This is our place." Haku mirrored her smile, "Do you like it?"
"A lot." she answered right away then crouched down to inhale the scent of the flowers, "They're so beautiful."
Haku silently watched her face lighten up from happiness as Chihiro picked some flowers to hold in her hands. With a flick of his wrist, a crown of flowers suddenly appeared on his hand, light and delicate. Haku carefully placed it on her head after Chihiro stood up.
"And this is for you."
"Arigatou." Chihiro said quietly with a slight blush on her cheeks.
Haku seemed to sense her nervousness. He gently lifted her chin up by his fingers making her look at him. Chihiro was tensed when he lowered his face closer and closer to her. She shut her eyes tight and could only wait when the tips of their noses touched. For a split second, there was no space left between their lips but it felt too surreal and ended too soon for her to determine if it actually was real or not.
Haku took Chihiro's hand in his and rested his forehead against hers, his green eyes bore into her chocolate ones after Chihiro opened her eyes.
"I'm glad." he stated sincerely.
Chihiro didn't know what he was referring — the place, her crown or just him and her — but she wouldn't ask. It didn't matter because somehow, she understood and could feel it too. She nodded and slightly nuzzled her nose against his, like when he was in his dragon form.
They stayed like that for a while until Haku led Chihiro to the nearby river. For a long time, they sat there in silence basking in the feeling of just being together. Chihiro rested her head between Haku's chest and his shoulder and closed her eyes letting warm stillness of the moment sink in, his steady heartbeat soothing her fluttering one.
"Chihiro." Haku called out gently, "Open your eyes."
"Hmm?" Chihiro blinked in slight confusion. His voice seemed strange in her ears like it was coming from far away.
Haku grasped her shoulders and turned her to face him, "Do not sleep Chihiro." he paused and continued in a whisper, "Not just yet."
She gave him a slight nod even though she didn't quite understand why. Darkness in the back of her eyes threatened to engulf her into an inviting slumber. Haku quickly mumbled something — maybe a spell — before he placed his lips against her forehead, swift but definitely there. After he noticed that Chihiro could sit straight by herself, Haku stood up.
With a clearer mind, Chihiro looked up at him.
He offered genially, "Come Chihiro, fly with me."
"But Haku.. " she began hesitantly and paused, surprised by a strange feeling tugging at her heart making her want to cry for no reasons, "Can we come here together again? I really like it here."
"Of course, we will." he reached his hand out and waited for her, his eyes tinted with sadness when he said, "I promise."
After a moment, Chihiro smiled at Haku taking his hand without hesitation. Then, there was a blink of bright light before the white dragon and the girl soared up together into the clear blue sky, high and free. Chihiro clung tightly onto his horns as she felt the wind rush through her face. She tried her hardest to keep her eyes open but they kept getting heavier and heavier..
Can we meet again?
Promise, now go and don't look back.
Despite anything and everything, she always believed him.
Chihiro wakes up with tears streaming down her cheeks.
A few years ago, she used to have many strange dreams — a blur of colors spinning round in her head, teasing her memories so cruelly she could remember nothing whenever she woke up, nothing at all. Everytime it was like that and then it had stopped but never once had her dreams been so overwhelming.
This time, it leaves her heart wrenching, desperately yearning for something she's lost — something she knows she knows but cannot remember.
Chihiro feels like she's going mad, like she's run for miles but her destination is still nowhere in sight and she has no idea what she's looking for. Her heart aches. She grips the blanket hard in her hands. She cannot breathe as her tears keep rolling down, slowly washing any traces of her dream until it's completely gone away.
She doesn't remember how. She doesn't remember why. She doesn't even remember who.
But her heart cries out and she knows.
I miss you.
Haku gazes up longingly at the sky, his eyes emerald and ablaze.
Far away in front of the bathhouse, at the middle of the bridge where they met for the second time years ago, he stands with the crown of light, delicate flowers cradled gently in his hands.
Wait for me.