The True Beauty Of A Withered Camellia: Unraveling
Kiku and Francis made their way back to the all too familiar Scarlet Peony as the night approached quickly; customers began to make their way into the brothel as the others readied themselves by putting on their kimonos, doing their hair and putting on their beautiful masks of powder and ink. The sounds were all too familiar, the chatter of customers, clinking of glasses and the soft movements of the delicate "peonies" as they would escort their clients up to the rooms that they have reserved for the entire evening.

Kiku, being uninvolved with the events taking place at that very moment, made his way back to his room before sitting by the lattice window overlooking the district and peered out hoping to see some trace of his lover. Seconds turn to minutes and minutes to hours, Kiku had long since lost hope of Alfred coming to see him that night. He sighed as he let his head lie against the windows he let the memories of when they had first met replay in his mind, he was content.

Downstairs was a different atmosphere, the music was loud and the people were lively, clients could be seen with the prostitutes; talking with each other, laughing and exchanging suggestive glances as the night went on. In from the street came a familiar Englishman inquiring about the rates for the blue eyed French male he had bedded not so long ago.

He waited at one of the many tables near the wooden stage for his blonde haired beauty to appear before him, shortly after the man's arrival in the brothel, a tall figure with golden strands of cascading hair and a brightly colored silk kimono stood before him. "Donc, nous nous réunissons une fois de plus...Monsieur Kirkland," Francis said warmly as he took hold of the Englishman's hand and escorted him upstairs.

"S-So how have you been holding up..?" the slightly nervous green eyed male asked as he took off his coat and hat before placing them on top of the dresser adjacent to him. Francis turned around slightly to look at the male curiously before moving towards him in an attempt to initiate what was eventually to come.

"Just a minute, if you don't mind…I was wondering if maybe we would be able to converse a bit?" Arthur asked as he stood in the same spot waiting for a reply.

"Hmm? Wanting to speak with a prostitute? What's this all of a sudden?" Francis asked as he arched his brow. "Don't feel as if I'm trying to do something, just for a little while?" the blonde asked again with a look of sincerity in both his voice and eyes. It was silent for a moment, "Well it is your money and time, so I suppose if that is what you want from me…I can't refuse," the Frenchman laughed softly as he led Arthur over towards the small table and had him sit.

"Would you like some tea?" Francis asked as he searched for the kettle. Arthur looked around slightly before replying, "Sure, that would be fine." Francis continued riffling through the trunk that sat parallel against the wall with the detailed red lattice windows. Unable to find the items, Francis quickly remembered something else that he had, "Monsieur Kirkland, how do you feel about wine?" Francis asked as he retrieved a dark red wine from underneath the bottom panel of the trunk.

Arthur stood speechless for a moment as he looked at the blue eyed male, "How in bloody hell were you able to get a bottle of wine that nice into a brothel?" the blonde male asked as he took the glass that Francis had poured for him. "Let's just say I have my ways," the Frenchman replied as he sipped from his glass and sat down gracefully on the floor.

"Now, what is it that you wanted to discuss?" Francis asked as he focused intently on the green eyed male in front of him. "Well it has to deal with one of your friends I suppose," Arthur said as he rubbed the back of his head with his hand. "And who..pray tell might that be…hmm?" Francis said playfully. Arthur thought to himself trying to remember the young male's name but to no avail."Well from what I can remember, my friend comes down to the Scarlet Peony quite often to see him..,a man by the name of Alfred,"replied Arthur as he took a swig of wine.

The long haired man's eyes immediately made contact with the eyes of the man across from him, "Monsieur Jones..oui?" asked Francis. "Yes, exactly," replied the Englishmen before continuing on with the topic at hand. "Now about the dark haired man that Alfred has been seeing?" Arthur asked again. "Kiku is his name," Francis replied. "Why do you want to know his name?" the blue eyed male asked as he poured Arthur and then himself another glass of wine.

"Well, long story short, Alfred wanted me to relay a message to you to give to your friend about Alfreds whereabouts and when he will be returning, he also mentioned that he had something very important to ask Kiku," Arthur said as he took another sip of his wine. Both of the men continued to converse as Arthur told Francis everything that Alfred had mentioned to him only days before as the two sat quietly.

The night began to grow old as clients left and made their way back out onto the roads and down the strip as Kiku watched from above. "I suppose this is another night where I won't see your face Alfred," the raven haired boy said softly as he let his head rest against the lattice window's frame. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of a tall silhouette of a being making his way towards the entrance of the Scarlet Peony.

He peered out of the window slightly trying to get a better look at the man, from what he could tell, the man was undoubtedly a foreigner. Another American…or maybe a European?Kiku thought to himself as he watched the man converse with another man outside of the brothel shortly before entering.

The brown eyed male dismissed it and focused his attention back towards looking for his misplaced journal, "It couldn't have vanished into thin air.."Kiku said as he made his way closer to the shoji. I could try checking through the brothel..but what if someone sees me..? Kiku thought to himself as he shut the screen behind him softly.

"It couldn't hurt.." Kiku said softly as he quietly made his way through the narrow hallway looking at the bottom sections of each screen for signs of movement before opening the doors and quickly glancing around the room for the journal. Minutes passed as Kiku began to lose faith and suspect that he would never come across his most precious possession again. As he made his way to the final room. he stiffened when he realized whose room he was standing in front of, "Ryota," Kiku uttered quietly under his breath.

Once again he slid open the shoji in front of him ever so delicately before allowing himself to slip into the guard's room. He looked around trying his best to see through the darkened space; he stepped forward only to feel something underneath his foot. He looked down and squinted to make out the object, Kiku let his small hand graze over the object before taking a hold of it. It feels like my…journal! Kiku thought to himself as he held it close to his small frame. Kiku quickly slid the book on the inner part of his obi before making his way hastily yet as quietly as possible from the guard's room and back to his own.

He shut the shoji quietly and turned around re assuredly only to be startled by the sight of both the amber eyed courtesan and the mysterious foreigner he had seen only minutes before from the window. Kiku stood frozen in front of them as the courtesan's eyes pierced the small framed male's. The silence was eventually broken, "Have you no manners? You have a guest in front of you…act accordingly," the courtesan remarked.

"I-I am sorry Mistress Yao," Kiku replied apologetically before bowing slightly and greeting the stranger before him. Kiku peered up at the foreigner to take in the man's appearance and was at first taken aback by his stunning features. The man looked even taller up close then he did from afar, he had pale flawless skin almost as white as snow and eyes that harbored a tinge of violet. His hair was one of the most noticeable features of all; it was such a delicate blonde color most likely the lightest variation he had ever seen.

When he spoke, he spoke with a thick and somewhat intimidating accent one that sent a small chill through the small male's spine as he continued to make eye contact with him. "This is a new client of ours and I've chosen you Tsubaki…do not disappoint him," the courtesan said with an almost bitter tone. "C-Client?..But Mistress Y," Kiku tr started before being cut off by the fiery courtesan.

"Yes? Is there something you wish to tell me Tsubaki? Might there be a reason why you've decided to go against my orders?" the amber eyes male asked sternly as he paused waiting for an answer. Kiku was silent for a moment before he shook his head and replied, "N-No Mistress Yao..I apologize for my insolence."

"Good…now I'll leave you to your duties," the courtesan said as he made his way towards the shoji and left the delicate male in awe of what had just occurred. "Let's see how you'll manage this time Tsubaki.." the amber eyed male uttered softly as he returned downstairs letting a sly smirk run across his lips.

Inside of the room, the silence was finally broken as the stranger spoke again, "I apologize for the late introduction…my name is Ivan."

Hello again! After a long break I've finally started writing more for "The True Beauty Of A Withered Camellia" I hope its to your liking ^^

Things are starting to get a little more serious for our main character as we start to move towards the end of the story.

Donc, nous nous réunissons une fois de plus: So we meet again
Monsieur: Mister

Sorry again for the long hiatus, I'm glad to continue writing :3 Enjoy and as always thank you for reading!
PS (Don't forget to review) ;)

*And just a heads up lol the writing in between the two thin grey lines is a different setting (since I ended up not using the usual asterisks to make it as noticeable) :)