It had taken fifteen years, but Haku did come for her again.
She'd grown up, Chihiro had. Gone to high school with it's loud jokes and overdone drama, gone to university with it's stress of studying and worry about tests and passing and the oh shit this is the real world and we're not ready for it sort of air that always seems to surround university campuses. She grew, baby-fat face growing angular, thin hair growing long and thick. Her hair stuck to the back of her neck with summertime heat, so she chopped it to chin length. Her skin darkened to the color of coffee with heavy cream, her body growing muscular from summer jobs she had taken working with the restoration of rivers and plain lands.
She waited for Haku, but didn't let it get in her way. She made friends, dated a few guys, got good grades and threw up when she tried sake for the first time. She got into a good college, studied hard, earned a degree in environmental science and was working in the town near the entrance to the spirit world when Haku found her again in the middle of September, after a day of Chihiro conducting research on the rivers and ponds by her town and trying to convince the city council to tear down the old apartments on the Kohaku river and let her begin restoration work.
He had grown, but he didn't look twenty-five like she did. He looked twenty-one at best, taller than her by five inches and more slender than any man had a right to be – but then again, Haku wasn't really a man. His narrow face had rounded out a bit, dark green eyes glowing emerald in the golden, early fall light of the setting sun. He was wearing some long, fancy kimono made of rich green and azure fabrics, too fancy for something like walking around a small town like Chihiro's. People stared at him as he passed, but Haku either didn't notice or didn't care.
He told her he thought he'd only been out of her life for maybe eight, nine months at the most, but he'd forgotten that time traveled differently here in the human world, and could she forgive him? He really didn't mean to leave her for so long, but – then Chihiro pressed her finger against his lip, and warm brown eyes gazing into surprised emerald ones, told Haku to stop talking. It didn't matter how long it had taken him – he'd found her in the end and that was what was important.
He ended up living with her, in her small townhouse near a huge river that sparkled silver on days when the sun was out and where the hum of creatures living out their lives in the banks never faded. Haku applied to go to college, starting a major in water resources, assisting Chihiro with her petition to save the Kohaku river, and learning about how to live in the human world.
Haku was interesting to live with, Chihiro discovered. He was picky and precise, surprising in some areas and exasperating in others.
Like with his coffee. He was so anal about it – it always had to be made the same way, with one part coffee, three parts cream and two parts sugar. Chihiro had never been found of coffee – it was too bitter for her, but the one time she tried Haku's coffee she had to spit it out in the sink. Haku poured so much sugar into his morning beverage that it was more a sludge than a drink. He'd laughed at her while she furiously rinsed out her mouth – how could anyone drink something that sweet, she demanded to know. Haku had just grinned mischievously and told her that she shouldn't insult his favorite drink, and he would drink it however he wanted. She told him he was going to die of heart failure from drinking that stuff, but he only chuckled and told her he'd be fine.
Haku could clean. Chihiro could never figure out why this surprised her so much – maybe because she didn't think Haku would have ever needed to know how to clean while living in Yubaba's bathhouse, maybe because she thought he'd never lower himself to do manual labour. But he could clean, and well. On days when their house was a mess and Haku didn't have classes, he'd wash the windows and scrub the floors, do the laundry and sweep up the cobwebs that always gathered in the corner of Chihiro's room just above her bed but she could never sweep them down because spiders reminded her too much of Kamaji. Haku took a vindictive sort of glee in jabbing the feather duster into these masses of cobwebs and destroying the homes that the spiders had taken so long to build. Chihiro chalked it up to some weird sort of rivalry between Kamaji and Haku and left it at that.
His cleaning abilities didn't extend to cooking. Chihiro'd come home one day to a smoke-filled home, the fire alarm going haywire and Haku standing sheepishly in the middle of the gloomy kitchen, golden sunlight filtering through the clouds of dark smoke, holding a pan filled with a black brick that he told her was suppose to be meatloaf but what looked like the remains of a torture victim. Chihiro couldn't cook either – it wasn't her fault that the salt and sugar shakers looked the same – so they ordered out nearly every night. It never failed to amuse Haku.
He was so polite to her parents and friends that he came off as anti-social, restricting himself to the smallest of smiles and the most eloquent language he could manage. Chihiro jabbed him in the side and hissed in his ear that they wouldn't think less of him for being more open every time they went out, but Haku ignored her. He was never like that when they were by themselves – he teased her endlessly, laughed loudly, played pranks when she least expected it and enjoyed sneaking up behind her and tickling her to make her scream with fright and then he'd only laugh again as she rained punches she knew would never hurt him on his back.
She was ecstatic he'd come for her, even with all the things she had to live through all that came hand-in-hand with Haku living in her house – the pranks, the bad cooking, the prissiness about coffee composition...everything was worth it. He made her laugh – small things, like the day when he'd spent three hours trying to figure out the mysteries of Chihiro's automatic water-heater, or when she had to explain that the TV wasn't really a magical window into another world.
He frustrated her – he stubbornly refused to use Chihiro's shower, so every night he marched down to the local bathhouse while Chihiro watched him go from, sitting on their front porch and shaking her head. He despised her computer because he couldn't understand how it worked and the noise of the AC rattling away in a attempt to cool down their sauna of a house during the summer never failed to scare him.
He made her believe that life really was something worth the effort. She'd been happy before he'd found her, but that happiness didn't compare at all to what he brought her.
The city gave Chihiro the rights to reconstruct the Kohaku river when she was twenty-nine. She finished when she was thirty-three, and she and Haku moved into a larger house by the bank of the river, near enough so Haku could fulfill his duties as a guardian and still live with Chihiro.
They were married when she was thirty-four, and when she was thirty-five, their daughter Lin was born. On weekends, Chihiro and Haku took their daughter to the edges of the spirit world – never all the way in, for Lin wasn't quite ready for that – and caught up with some old friends as Lin played in the long grass on the plains of the spirit world.
When Lin was nine and Chihiro forty-four, they moved permanently into the spirit world because Lin, half-spirit that she was, didn't quite adjust to the human world and Haku had been slowly fading away. Chihiro didn't mind – she saw Zaniba and Lin and Kamaji again, and her parents had already passed away, so she was fine with changing the world she lived in.
No one really knows what happened after that. Some suspect Haku managed to turn Chihiro and Lin into full spirits so they could be together for the rest of time, others that Chihiro died and Lin eventually went back to the world of mortals. Some say that Haku took over Yubaba's bathhouse and others that they all died after many years together.
Whatever happened, they were happy, and that is all that truly matters.
I watched Spirited Away again and I had to write this. I imagine Haku found Chihiro in the end, but I also imagine he was a pain to live with. Also, I love the random image of Haku as a sweet-toothed coffee junkie who hates all technology simply because he can't figure out how it works. Could just be me. Hope ya liked.
I imagine Haku found Chihiro in the end, but I also imagine he was a pain to live with. Also, I love the random image of Haku as a sweet-toothed coffee junkie who hates all technology simply because he can't figure out how it works.
Could just be me.
Hope ya liked.