The hot water stung as it lashed across his back, washing away any impurities that clung to his skin from yesterday.
He lifted his face to the waterfall, steam filling the wooden room.
Grabbing a lavender scented soap, he slowly began to wash off his body, taking care to not miss a spot.
He turned, letting the shampoo be washed from his long silky black hair.
Running his fingers lightly through his hair, he let out a sigh, pulling his hair back and letting it fall around his shoulders as he leaned down to turn the water off.
The rain pounded heavy against the ceiling, the window panes rattling with the intensity of the wind. It was a strong winter storm.
He knew he wouldn’t get any customers tonight, as no one would brave a storm like this.
The cold rain stung as it lashed across his face, his vision blurring as the howling wind battered him. The world around him was pitch black, but he kept trudging on.
He had been separated from his squadron after a blockage in the path. He had tried to find a way around, but only managed to get himself lost in the unfamiliar territory.
The threat of wild animals lurking through the night had him on constant alert, even if he couldn’t see a few inches in front of his face.
In the long snowy distance ahead, he could barely make out the lights of a house.
The thought crossed his mind of why a house would be up here in the bare mountains, and whether or not it was the storm playing tricks on his eyes.
But either way, a small glimmer of hope lit up his cold heart at the lights, and he began to make his way up the steep rocky hill.
Eventually he found a man made path leading up to the tall walls of what seemed to be a Japanese bathhouse.
Large lanterns sat outside it’s walls, which swung violently in the wind, but gave off no sign of falling or breaking. The man sighed with relief, signs of life stirred in the paper thin walls.
His legs buzzed with little to no feeling, his breath coming out in clouds as he persevered onward past the massive stone gates.
He sat in silence as the finely dressed woman combed through his long black hair, taking the utmost care and ease.
He heard a quick rapping knock on the shōji, the woman getting up, letting in the guest.
One of the men on watch quickly entered, his voice frantic as he spoke.
“My lord, a stranger has appeared on our doorstep. He is close to death and freezing. He needs medical attention.”
He spoke in rapid Japanese, the man looking up from where he sat.
“A strange man, you say. Did you let him in?” The guard sentryman nodded, gesturing to lead out the man wrapped in silken robes.
The sentryman spoke more of the situation as they walked down the long corridor, “he appeared on the doorstep past the gate. His face was blue with frost, and we feared the worst.
When the women were undressing him from his damp clothing, they uncovered many American weapons.”
Their pace was brisk, entering the main foyer. “Did he seem to be... hostile?”
The geisha spoke softly, never raising his voice, never showing a bit of emotion in his tone.
“No, my lord, only... cold and hungry. He seemed relieved when the guards answered the door, practically collapsing in their arms.”
They had finally entered the bathhouse, where the women stood around in fretted waiting, a pile of dark clothes and other items sat in the corner,
the doors clouded with steam from the supposed hot bath they had pulled for the cold guest, in hopes it would prevent any further damage.
The women crowded around him, speaking in hushed and hesitant Japanese. He spoke in the same hushed tone, reassuring them with soft phrases said through soft lips.
They tugged at his sleeves, worriedly asking him questions like “is he going to hurt us?”and “what does he want?”
The geisha hushed them, saying “now now, my dears. This man is our guest. We mustn’t treat him any differently. Now please go fetch our delightable guest a warm dry robe for him to wear, yes?”
They nodded with respect, scurrying off.
He nodded to the watchman who stood close by, snapping his delicate fingers.
The watchman jumped, bringing one of the guns over to the man, who held it with a light touch, inspecting the darkened metal.
He slid his hand up the barrel of the gun, eyeing the label on the side.
“It is indeed an American weapon. It is made of heavy metal, clunky and not very accurate. It would seem our guest is a lost soldier.
Dealing with our policy, we mustn’t treat him any differently. But make note, we need him out as fast as possible.”
His tone had changed into one of seriousness.
The steamy water splashed over his head, the tingling sensation slowly leaving his body, the burning sensation of the hot water beginning to deep back into his skin.
He dunked his head under the water, resurfacing with a soft gasp of air.
He heard soft mumbles of a language he couldn’t understand outside, a soft voice catching his attention. It was different from the women’s voices he heard. It was calm and gentle.
He scoffed to himself, brushing the wet pieces of bleach blonde short hair out of his face. Slowly, he emerged from the hot water, pulling the soft towel around his body, drying off quickly.
He heard more shuffling, the sliding doors cracking open as one of the females of the house slipped in, offering him a very expensive looking robe.
Feeling very underwhelmed to wear such an expensive looking garment, he kindly tried to deny the offer. “Oh, that’s very kind of you, but no thank you. If you’d give me back my clothes-“
The woman cut in, gesturing very excitedly to the robe again.
“Onegaishimasu! Totemo sutekina nunodesu! Anata no tame ni!” She spoke happily, trying to hand him the robe again.
He figured trying to speak to her was useless and accepted the robe with a smile.
The two muttered softly to each other, the watchman still sporting a worried look.
They both turned to look when the shōji slid open, revealing their guest.
The man walked out in the silken robes, messily tied around his body. The geisha dismissed the watchman, who bowed lightly and ran off back to his post.
The dark haired man turned to the other, a warm smile gracing his pale complexion,
“Yōkoso, honored guest.” He extended his hands outward, taking a step toward the confused man.
“I take it you do not speak Japanese?” The geisha spoke again, his accent still heavy in his English, but it was better than most others who worked for him.
The man shook his head, a look of relief washing over his expression, “I only speak English. I uh... appreciate all you have done for me so far...
” he chuckled nervously, running his hands through his still damp hair.
“My Gādo tells me you were in dire condition.” The geisha continued, tucking his delicate hands into his long sleeves, folding his arms.
Before the other could reply, he spoke again, “tell me, soldier. What are you doing out on such a... dangerous night?” He tilted his head slightly, his body language showing no threat.
Or any emotion at all.
“Now, hold on there.
It’s not what you think-“ the man tried to approach the other, his hand raising in a poiniant manner, but he stopped when the geisha held out his hand, his gaze suddenly turning cold.
“You are tired, soldier. I will allow you to abide here tonight, but by tomorrow morning, You will be gone. The Ladies will lead you to your room.
” He turned away from the man, glancing back only to say, ”and try not to be loud.” Before he walked away, his robe swishing behind him.
As if on que, the women from before entered, tugging at the other’s robe, leading him down the opposite hallway.
He glanced back, catching a glimpse of the black haired man, his skin prickling.