The rays of the setting sun filtered through the trees of a familiar forest as a young woman was walking on the dirt road. She kicked up little clouds of dust as she went which reflected in the sunlight. After walking for a time she saw the vague shape of a strange stone she had seen only twice before. She walked up to it pulling off the vines that had grown around the Idol. She softly caressed her fingers over the intricate carving.
Tears welled in her eyes as she admired the beauty of the grove. But, this had been a mistake. She glanced at the tunnel behind the statue with a wistful sigh. She turned to leave when she heard the echoing of footsteps. She looked back and a figure slid out of the shadows and into the small patch of light that had entered the channel.
The light flashed once when it came into contact with beautiful strands of black hair. The pale skin she remembered was still as beautiful as it once was. At first she didn't believe it. So much had changed. But her hand flew up to her mouth when she recognized the piercing jade eyes that sparkled with affection.
"Haku?" The sound muffled slightly behind her hand. Her eyes sparkled with joyful tears that threatened to spill past her lashes. The man smiled. "Hello Chihiro." She couldn't move. It all seemed like a dream. "It's been a very long time, but we have met again, just like I promised." He said not moving from the tunnel.
The woman took a step forward, but was shocked when he took a step back. "Don't come any closer." He told her, the pain evident in his eyes. "Wh-why?" She asked. "I've waited so long . . ." He looked at her pleadingly. "I'm sorry, but because I no longer have a home, if I step from my world . . . I will dissapear." She stepped forward again with the intent to go to him. But he stepped back. "No, if you enter my world . . . You won't be able to return." She walked forward again but he didn't pull back.
She smiled sadly making her way to the edge of the tunnels mouth. Salt water streamed down her cheeks as she spoke. "I wouldn't need to return . . . If I had you . . ." She stopped and looked at him. His eyes open wide with surprise. "I could never take you from your family." He frowned, remembering all the sacrifice she had made for them.
She shook her head. "I'm here. I love them . . . But I'm here because I would give everything . . . To see you." She admired his features. She knew that sprits lived forever, but he seemed to change his mortal form to ease her. He no longer held the image of the boy she had met eight years ago. He was a man now.
He sighed. "There is nothing I want more. But, it's not fair for me to ask that of you." She chuckled wiping her eyes. "You're not . . . I am." He lifted his hand and stretched it forward until it found the barrier of energy that warned him to remain where he was. His fingertips rested on it as he looked at her. "You cannot leave your family wondering where you are." She reached up her own hands to touch her fingers to the barrier where his were. She smiled at him. They were a short distance from touching, but it felt a world away. "I came here to find you." She said. "Three years ago my family moved from the country. I was too young to protest and my only thoughts since then have been about you. But, I am eighteen now. I can make my own decisions. And I've decided to stay with you."
He looked at her with loving eyes. "You are a woman now, it's true. But, a woman should give respect to her parents. Leaving them with no goodbye would not be right." She nodded. "Then give me a month. I will tell them goodbye, and prepare myself to join you." He looked at her. "But, are you sure this is what you want . . .?" Chihiro smiled leaning her head on the barrier. "More than anything." He leaned his head to touch her own. "Than you will return?"
She reached her hand behind her head and the soft brown tresses atop her head fell to her cheeks. She knew she would be safe as long as she didn't step through the barrier. She pushed her closed hand through to meet his. He held the girl's hand softly. When she removed her hand, in his own, was a purple hair tie. "I promise . . . If you wait for me . . . I will return." He smiled and closed his hand around the memento. "I promise, that I will wait."
The girl smiled as tears once again filled her eyes. She turned away to leave but turned to look back at him. "Until I return . . . Kohaku . . ."