On the First Day of Spring: JapanxReader
I walked down the hallway of the unfamiliar place. My slippers are making tapping sounds as they meet the wooden floor. I took a deep breath as I face the door, sliding it open and letting the light lit my face. I was greeted by a few stares from the girls inside. I’m so nervous that I feel a ball of coldness in my stomach. I’m only eight years old.. Too young to be in this place, but it is a poor young girl’s destiny to be sold for the sake of their family. I heard a giggle; I looked up to be greeted by a smiling girl with green orbs. She has this green eyes; she wears a green kimono with a yellow sash. Green looks good on her; it made her look easier to approach, maybe because the color is relaxing? Her brown hair is tied up tightly behind her head, and it is adorned by three golden hairpins.
“Hello there, why don’t you come inside.” She said in a calm, motherly voice.
“A new part of a family!” An Asian girl said in a cheerful voice while clasping her hands together. Io walked closer inside, clutching on my pink kimono tightly. I’m not used in wearing this. I feel uncomfortable the moment this silk hit my skin.
“Mei, how many times do I have to tell you to act like a lady?” A stern voice of a woman was heard. “Come here, young one.” I took a step closer to the older woman who appeared to be around her thirties. She lightly grabbed my chin so she can look at me closely. “How pretty, what’s your name? she said as she slowly lets go.
“(Name)..” I muttered loud enough for her to hear.
“(Name), you must understand that we shouldn’t use your name in business.” She said. I felt my heart broke, losing the hope that someone will come and get me back. How can they even find me, they don’t even know the place, and my name will be replaced.”Sakura..” I looked at her with confused eyes. “You may be broken right now, but when the time comes, you will be blooming just like those trees.”
“Sakura..” I repeated, feeling a bit flattered to be compared on such flower.
“Yes, that’s the perfect name for you.” She smiled.
I tied up my hair with a new ornament, a few twists and pulls and I’ll be done with this. I put on the white matte, covering my (s/c) with the pearl white. The only thing that will be remained unchanged in my face would be my (e/c) orbs. I sighed- my voice echoing in the empty room. I heard a knock at my door, I turned to see who it is-A young girl with green orbs and short blonde hair, peeking at the door nervously.
“Lily..” I said “Why don’t you come inside?” She nodded as she slid the door close. She walked closer to me, clutching at her pink kimono. I remember my younger self whenever I look at her, I’m still serving as a maiko. In fact she’s using my former dress-A pink kimono with a yellow obi hanging at the waist and trailing down to the ankles. I heard that this girl is a part European, his father is from a small country in Europe. The tragedy of her life is being separated with his brother because of the war. I don’t know other details about her life, but she must be suffering a lot.
“Would you like me to help you with your sash?” She asked.
“Of course, thank you.” I put on the red robe and fixed it in front as she ties the sash for me. After that I put on my makeup and my rep lipstick. I stood up and took a deep breath.
This is going to be another night for me. Yes, this is my life when the sun goes down, quite different during the morning. I closed my eyes as I remembered what happened earlier this morning.
It’s already spring. The coldness of winter has been replaced by the pink flowers and the calm breeze. I walked at the streets of Kyoto with a simple kimono on. It’s nice to be like everyone else.
This morning Elizaveta asked me to buy some peaches; since it’s a good time to eat some. Now, here I am, humming while carrying a whole bag of peaches. People have eyed me for buying too many. But it’s just right for the whole family.
“Excuse me, miss.” I heard a man spoke. I turned my head to see a black haired man with an emotionless face. I found his black orbs rather interesting; it’s like a whole mystery to me.
“Yes?” I finally answered after getting out of the trance.
“You dropped a Peach..” He said, handing the plump fruit to me. I just giggled and waved, turning my back to him.
“You can keep it!” I said as I slowly walked out of the scene. It’s rare to see such gentleman around here; especially I’m quite surrounded by drunk perverts at night.
To think about it, I haven’t asked for his name, too bad.
I giggled as I remembered the scene.
“Sakura! You’re requested at the first room.” Mei said, peeking at the door.
“I’m going, just a minute.” I replied, fixing my hair and grabbing my shamisen. I slowly made my way out the door with my apprentice, Lily. She will be the one pouring the sake. I walked to the assigned room, and opened the door slowly while kneeling. We bowed slowly as we greeted them in formal way. I looked up to see the visitors this time. There are four of them, some of them are foreigners, and I’m sure that the black haired one is an Asian. I can’t see their faces clearly.
“Kesesese~ she is beautiful.” I raised an eyebrow at the man with a platinum blonde hair. I can’t understand what he’s saying.
“Brother, you should atleast speak in English.” Another man with the same accent said. He has those blue eyes and slicked blonde hair. According to my observation regarding my past clients, they must be European. Our country had an alliance with some powerful forces outside. We’re strong, yet it creeps me out. “What’s your name?” He asked. Thank Kamisama I had learned a few English words.
“Sakura.” I said.
“Vee~ Sakura! It means something in Japanese, right? Kiku?” A man with an odd curl said. He has the logo of the infamous fascism at his right sleeve. Knowing that he’s an Italian made me shudder. Now I know that they aren’t ordinary customers.
“It means Cherry Blossom..” A familiar voice said. My eyes widenee at the sightof the black haired man. He is the man that I met earlier this morning! I felt my heart thumped, he shouldn’t know about my true job. I’ll try my best not to speak this night.
“Enough with the talk! Now play with that instrument.” The man with the platinum blonde hair said, his red orbs are staring at me from head to feet. It made me feel uncomfortable. I walked inside and played with the instrument in full passion. The Italian keeps emitting a good aura as he sways his head from side to side. The two European brothers are staring seriously while drinking sake, and the Japanese, Kiku, is he? He keeps on searching for my eyes, yet I won’t let him meet mine. I poured my heart at the song, but then the man with red eyes told me to stop playing.
“Gilbert? Why, it’s so good!~” The Italian whined.
“It’s getting boring!”He said at the man, then back at me. “Now strip.” He said in English. My eyes widened. I’ve been avoiding these instances, I want to keep my chastity.
“I-I’m sorry?” I said, slightly shaking. Even Lily is shaking.
“You heard me.” He said in a stern voice, mostly commanding. He grabbed my wrists and pulled me down to his level. “Strip. Or you want me to do that for you?’
“Brother, get ahold of yourself!” His brother stood and came nearer, but he dragged me near the door. I kept struggling from his tight grip but I just can’t. He’s too strong.
But then I felt something cold drip in my hands. A strong scent filled my nose. Is it.. sake? I stared at the man who’s losing his grip on my wrist which I swiftly pulled away. His hair is soaking because of sake, someone must’ve thrown it to him. I felt a soft hand pulled me away.
“Gilbert, you’re drunk.” I heard a soft familiar voice. I froze in my position, realizing it’s him.. Kiku.
“Arghh… You always spoil the fun!” Gilbert whined. They are now exchanging glares, Kiku held me closer to him.
“Let’s run.” I heard him whispered in my ear. Before I can respond, he opened the door and ran in such speed, dragging me with him.
“Get back! You selfish killjoy!” I heard Gilbert shouted.
We ran past Elizaveta, earning a giggle from her. We ran through the hall way and both stopped in a open space. There’s a small pond in front. I rarely go to this spot, but this time, this looks more peaceful. We both panted and catch some air. After that we both collapsed at the ground, laughing. I stared at his eyes, last time I hope he wouldn’t recognize me, but now I’m hoping he would. He began to blush and removed his hand from mine. He seems to be shy of physical contact.
“I’m sorry.” He said, sitting up. I want to say it’s fine, but I can’t find my voice. “Are you alright?” I just nodded. I can feel him leaning closer to me, he raised his hand slowly, getting closer to my face, I shut my eyes closed. Is he? No! It’s way too fast. But then I felt my hair loosened and flow at my shoulders. My eyes snapped open, and I saw him with a soft smile. “So it is you.” He said. I just let out a small giggle.
He noticed me. He hasn’t forgotten my (e/c) orbs after all.
Every day we meet each other, under the cherry blossom tree where we first met; just the two of us, exchanging glances, sitting in silence. I just want this to be like this. I feel so comfortable. Days and weeks and months have passed. The Cherry blossoms bloomed at its best, but then slowly lose its beauty as the spring leaves. Right now I’m standing in front of the same tree, same place, yet no flowers. I turned around when I heard some footsteps. I gave him a smile.
“You’re late, Kiku.” I said. I admit, I’ve grown to like this man.
“Sakura..” I giggled as he mentioned my ‘name’. I would always change the topic whenever he asks my real name. But I suddenly stopped when I saw the serious expression in his face. He’s always serious but not this.. Right now he looks sad. “I have news for you.” He handed me a red letter. My eyes widened. I know the meaning of this. I clutched the paper tightly as I read the words.
“No..” Curse this war. Why does it have to affect normal people? “You’re going?”
“I don’t have other choice.” He said, looking down.
“When?” I felt tears forming at the corner of my eyes.
“Tomorrow, morning.” How early! I didn’t have anything to give him. Just to say goodbye? Our country has a lot of armies, but someone as young as Kiku? Only 21? He might be at the most dangerous place, the front row! I clutched the paper tightly. I didn’t mind my tears dripping down my cheeks. I felt his hands wiped them. “Shh.. don’t cry..”
I felt my knees weakened. I can’t take to lose another person. I just backed away and ran away from him. I ran away from the truth that I’m going to lose someone. Ran away from the truth that I was about to confess. Here I am, running away from the world. I locked myself in my room. I haven’t performed that night, I also haven’t slept. I’m afraid that the sun will rise. I went out of my room for a while.
“It’s almost dawn.” I whispered.
“Why don’t you go and chase him?” I heard a familiar voice. It’s Elizaveta. “I saw the paper, and I guess it’s rude if you won’t say goodbye.”
“But what about-“
“I’ll take care of everything here.” She said, smiling and patting my head. “Go on.” I gave her a nod and ran outside.
I hope he’s there, please be there.
As I am getting close to the rendezvous, I felt my heart flutter to see a black haired man, standing at the exact place.
“Kiku!” I shouted his name, He turned to me with his widened eyes. I opened my arms to hug him tightly. “I’m sorry.. I’m sorry I ran away.” I felt a pair of arms wrap around my figure.
“It’s alright. I’m glad you’re here.” I turned my head up to look at him. He tilted up my chin further and bent down. I slowly close my lids just when I felt his soft lips on mine. It is a chaste kiss, yet full of feelings. “Sakura.. I-“ I cutted him off with my pair of lips.
“Don’t speak. Just come back. Okay?”
“Tell me you name, just before I go.”
“No. I won’t. Just come back.” I said. He placed a kiss at my forehead. I felt him smile.
“You really are stubborn.” He whispered.
“On the first day of Spring. Promise me you’ll come back. I will be waiting for you here.” I said.
“We have no assurance that the war will end at that time” He said while I gave him a small pout. “But I will come back once the Cherry blossoms Bloom.”
“You just repeated what I said.” I replied.
That was our first kiss, I won’t let it be the last.
How are you? Are you hurt? The promised day is almost here. Just a few months and you’ll come back, right? Be safe. Always.
I continued sending him letters, even though he only replied once. I’ve been counting days, and stayed strong for these past few months. The Geisha house closed a year ago, the war had caused a lot of damage for everyone. People, rich or poor, we all suffer because of lack of supplies. Our ‘family’ had planned of planting vegetables at our yard, and it came out good. I sealed the letter and left it on the table. I sat down, quietly until I heard a scream.
“(Name)!” Mei shouted from the door. I rushed to the entrance to see her holding a blonde-haired man who seemed to be in pain. I was about to ask but then I heard a loud noise of bombs and gun shooting. I quickly led them inside. Good thing the man has a short stature and is easy to carry around. I asked Elizaveta to get the first aid kit as we laid him down. We did our best on treating his wound. It’s good that he didn’t lose too much blood. We let Lily stay on her room. She’s too young for this.
At this time the only option we have is to stay home. I turned to look at the wincing man.
“Don’t move.” I said. “What’s your name?”
“I’m fine, the name’s Vash.” He said. I felt like I heard that name before. “You don’t look like Japanese. Where are you from?”
“I’m from Switzerland. I travelled to Japan a year ago but caught up in the middle of the war.” He winced once again. “I want to see my sister. He said before he collapsed.
A few hours of staying to take care of him, I heard a knock at the door. It cracked open, I saw the small girl taking a peek.
“Come here, Lily.” I said. She came in, but then froze when she saw the unconscious man. I saw tears trailing down her cheek.
“Brother..” She ran beside the man, looking at him closely. So he is Lily’s brother. He opened his eyes and smiled.
“You’re safe.” He said as he pulled her into a soft hug. I went out of the room, giving their reunion privacy. It’s good to see someone being found. I walked out of the house, I am stunned on what I am seeing now. The houses from a distance is now burnt to ashes, helicopters are flying everywhere. It’s snowing pitch black ashes. Japan. You used to be so.. Powerful? I felt my blood drained when I remembered something. I ran as fast as I could outside the house.
“(Name)!” Where are you going?” I heard Mei shout my name but I didn’t turned back. I passed through the mourning people, through the dark ashes, through all these mess. Until I reach that place.
“No..” I muttered as I saw the burning cherry blossoms trees in front of me. I collapsed on my knees; covering my mouth in shock. That tree.. No it can’t be. I head a sound of explosion near me. I didn’t have the time to get out of the place; I just let it blow me off. My vision became blurred as I slowly closed my eyes. The last thing that I see is that burning cherry blossom tree.
Kiku Honda, you never fulfilled your promise. You told me you would come back once the Cherry Blossoms bloom?
A year has passed after the war. And we are at our recovering state. Would you believe me if I tell you that Elizaveta is already married now? Vash and Lily are staying here in Japan. It’s good to see them reunited. Mei has found her way home to Taiwan. I thought of those things as I am watering the small branches of my plant.
“Welcome home!” I heard a woman with a black hair said loudly. Wrapping her arms around her injured husband. I smiled at them., then I turned my head to see if you are one of them. It’s almost spring, you have to be here! Seconds, minutes, hours passed. Yet no presence of you.
Why? You promised, right?
“You idiot. Leaving me alone.” I muttered. Wiping off the moist in my eyes.
“Who said I would?” My eyes snapped open. I turned around. I dropped my watering can. I stood there, frozen. “You’ve grown taller.. Sakura.” Is this for real? I slowly walked closer to him, placing my hand on his cheeks. He is real
He scooped me up into a tight hug.
“Kiku! Is it really you?” I cried, burying my head at his shoulder. “I thought you’ll never come back.”
“I promised, right?” He said, looking at me. “And also, I don't know your name, yet.” We both smiled. My eyes still moist with tears.
“It’s (Name)…” I said as he kissed me passionately. All of those lost time were brought back.
He came back just in time. I looked at my small plant to see its single flower slowly blooming.
The first day of spring is just about to start.