Chihiro resumed her old duties immediately, back to cleaning the tubs and doing all the other jobs that nobody else wanted to do. But she was no longer treated like an annoying little girl that nobody wanted around, now they all stopped to watch her from time to time, their curiosity at her presence obvious. Though, to most of them, she looked familiar, nobody was sure whether or not to believe the rumor that she was back. Throughout the morning Lin stayed as close to Chihiro as she could, not only to help her through her first day back but also because, even though she complained about having her around all the time, she had really missed her.
When the time drew near for her to meet Haku she was exhausted. She hadn't worked that hard since the last time she was there. She knew that she must look horrible, but she was so tired that she didn't care. Slowly she made her way to her room to at least put on some clean clothes that weren't covered in stains from the tubs and soaking from the water. As she walked into her room she caught a glimpse of her reflection. After seeing how frightful she looked she knew that had to make herself look a little better if she were going to see Haku.
She slipped into the clothes that she had come in, straightened up her hair, and washed her face. Washing the grime from her face alone made her feel better, but with the clean, dry clothes all of the days tension was drained from her. Since she had slipped away early to make herself presentable she still had some time before she was supposed to meet Haku. Chihiro decided that the she would surprise them all and be early rather than late. Feeling much better after changing she raced down the stairs, now anxious to see Haku again. With her mind now on Haku she wasn't really paying attention to where she was going and, as she neared th bottom of the stairs, ran straight into Lin, who was coming upstairs to make sure she hadn't fallen asleep or something.
At the speed Chihiro was going the impact sent them both tumbling to the floor. Their arms and legs were twisted in every direction as they laid sprawled across the floor. This was the position in which they were found by Haku. He too had been early and had witnessed the entire event and though he was concerned for their welfare he couldn't miss the comical side of it. After assuring himself that they were both okay he let the smile he was holding back free. When Chihiro noticed his smile she turned crimson with embarrassment and when her blush was noticed Haku and Lin burst out laughing. Chihiro soon joined in, unable to resist. As they began to draw odd glances from some of the workers as they passed by, they tried to recompose themselves.
"Haku, you had better get Chihiro out of here before she completely ruins this place."said Lin with a slightly indulgent smile on her face.
Under her breath Chihiro self-consciously agreed. "Yeah, we had better go now before I can embarrass myself anymore."
Haku, who was still chuckling, took Chihiro's hand in his and started off toward the kitchen where he had a basket prepared for them. Startled, Chihiro pulled her hand away and stood staring at him. He had never been so openly affectionate to her before, even Lin had noticed the difference and had that goofy grin on her face again as she went to get her own lunch. Not wanting him to go back to the way he always used to be she slipped her hand back into his and smiled shyly up at him. "Are you ready to go?" he asked her in a rather surprised voice, as though he hadn't meant to speak at all.
"Yes, I'm starving. Where are we going exactly?" Chihiro replied anxious to break the awkwardness between them.
"I thought perhaps we could have our picnic in the garden." When Chihiro only nodded he began to walk again, their hands still entwined, toward the kitchen to get the basket.
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