After collecting the basket and a blanket for them to sit on they went to choose what part of the garden they would have their picnic. They ended up sitting in the shade of a large tree surrounded by fragrant flowers. Haku spread the blanket out on the grass then Chihiro began to unpack the basket, staring longingly at the delicious smelling food as she set it on the ground. Haku, who had been leaning against the tree watching her, decided to join her on the blanket. Sitting down beside her helped her get the rest of the food out. There was every kind of food there imaginable, from rice and chicken to the most mouthwatering desserts. Once all the food was unpacked Chihiro helped herself to the large amounts of food before them, completely unconscious of the spectacle she presented or of all the protocols she had broken.
Chihiro was still piling food on her plate as she came across something she couldn't quite reach without spilling everything on her plate. Haku noticed this and, smiling, handed her the bowl that was just beyond her reach. As she tool the bowl from him she blushed realizing how this must make her look. Haku made aplate for himself and settled back onto the blanket to enjoy both the picnic and the company.
"So how was your first day back to work? You seem a little tired. Is everything okay?" Haku asked, concerned for the strained look on her face.
"It's harder than I remember it being. Nobody remembered me but they all came to see who the new worker was. Some of them seemed like they might recognize me but nobody said anything."
"Would you like for me to introduce you to them so that they won't have to stare at you wondering who you are? It might make returning to work here a little easier for you."
"Do you really think that would help? If so then I guess so, but how many of them do you think would remember me? I mean it has been a while since i have been here."
"I'm sure there will be several who remember you and the others who have never met you will no longer have to wonder who you are. So, if it is okay with you, Iwill introduce you to everyone tomorrow."
Once they had both eaten their fill they laid back on the blanket to stare up at the clouds. They were so like the clouds of the human world but there was something that made them different. Perhaps they were fluffier or the shapes of them were more distinct, either way you could still find bunnies and puppies in them, at least Chihiro could. Haku had yet to find any shape in the clouds, to him they were all just clouds, but that didn't stop him from laughing at all the ridiculous shapes that Chihiro thought she saw.
As they lay there a cold breeze gently swept through the garden sending a chill through Chihiro. Haku noticed her shiver and pulled her into his arms for warmth, hoping she wouldn't object. She looked at him rather surprised but didn't pull away, this reaction made Haku begin to hope that she cared for him more than just a good friend, that perhaps she could even one day love him half as much as he loved her.
The sensation of relaxing back into Haku's arms seemed as if her dreams had come to life. Oh, the countless nights she had dreamed and wished for him to wrap his arms around her and now that he was it seemed almost unreal. "Haku, how long before we have to go back?" Chihiro asked, wishing they could stay this way forever.
"As long as you wish." He answered as the breeze brushed her hair over his hand. This was the strangest breeze he had ever felt, there was something so unnatural about it, but he silently thanked whatever it was for giving him this moment. Unable to restrain his hand any longer he began to gently stroke the hair offered to him by the breeze.
This is how they remained for several hours longer, both knew that this couldn't last much longer, but both holding on to it as long as they could. Watching the soft clouds float by, comforted by the warmth and presence of the other. And this is exactly how Chihiro fell asleep, cuddled in the arms of the man she loved.
When Haku noticed the change in her breathing he looked closely at her to make sure she was asleep, smiling tenderly at the sight before him. There in his arms was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, her face softened by sleep and such a content look on her face that he would allow nothing to rob her of that look. As gently as he could he laid her on the ground and packed the remaining food back in to the basket and dusted the grass off the blanket before folding it and setting it on the lid of the basket. He returned to Chihiro and once more scooped her into his arms, then, as subtly as possible bent once more to balance the basket handle on his arm. With everything gathered up he carefully carried this treasure granted to him, by forces unknown, inside.
As unusual a sight as this was the workers that happened to catch a glimpse of them could do nothing but stare. The once cold hearted young man had so much love in his eyes that the curiosity of the identity of the mystery girl only increased. Returning the basket to the kitchen and receiving indulgent smiles, he then carried Chihiro to her room and tucked her into her bed, gently pulling the blankets over her. Once out of his arms she stirred a bit but soon settled back into her sleep, letting her dreams of Haku return. Seeing her relax again he bent to kiss her on the forehead and, as he still had work to do, returned to his office, though once there he couldn't seem to think of anything but Chihiro and the new hope that lurked in his chest.
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