Prompt 91-Hotel

Write about a memorable experience you have had staying at a hotel.

It took Youko just over two hours to get to the inn with Mika on his back. They were ambushed three more times on their way, but he was able to dispatch all the attackers with his rose whip without having to put Mika down or make her fight. The highest ranked demon was barely middle C-class, which given the region wasn’t surprising. Except they were far too coordinated.

Mika waited by the door while he negotiated a room from the innkeeper. The man was as stingy as he was thin. He refused to give them more than one room, and at an exorbitant rate. Youko managed to bring him down on the price with a threatening glare, but he would not budge on the room. Said they could take it or spend the night in the forest.

Mika shot him a glare when she noticed the single bed in the room but he was too annoyed to tease her about it. “Don’t worry,” he muttered, “I’ll take the chair.” It was a loveseat, and was at least upholstered, but he could already feel the pain he would have in his neck in the morning. Maybe he’d just sleep on the floor.

“I’m smaller than you,” she said. “I’d probably fit better in it.”

He tried not to appear surprised by her offer. Instead he smiled. “I said don’t worry about it,” he replied. “You’ll get better rest in the bed and you need it more than I do.” She looked longingly at it and Youko suddenly realized how much the day’s journey had taken out of her. “Go ahead and get some rest now. I won’t let you sleep through dinner.”

She nodded, dropping her pack on the floor and falling on the bed in one fluid motion. She was asleep before her head hit the pillow. He shook his head and sighed, covering her with the extra blanket.

He left her to sleep and headed down to the inn’s bar to see what rumors were floating around. He had some theories, but nothing concrete. He ordered a potent demon world drink made from the berry of a poisonous plant and chatted up the bartender. He hoped this conversation wouldn’t end in fire like the one Mika had injured herself in just ten days ago.

“The woods seemed awfully quiet,” he said pleasantly. “I remember them being more full of riff raff the last time I came this way.” They’d encountered riff raff, of course, but even so, it was less than he had expected.

The man behind the counter nodded. “There have been rumors of a coalition gathering to take over the territory. It’s really killed business.” He gestured around at the mostly empty bar.

“Coalition? Since when do the mindless drones form military coalitions?” Youko was incredulous.

“They say something’s coming,” he continued. “There are groups gathering to fight.”

“What are they fighting?”

The man looked around the common room to make sure no one was listening too closely, then leaned forward and spoke in a low whisper. “What do you know about the War for Wolves Power?”

He sipped his warm drink to hide his shock. “That was over fifty years ago,” he replied carefully. “Heard tell that it was a massacre, and all the fighters perished.” That was a lie. He’d fought in it himself.

The bartender shook his head. “There were two women at the center of it all. One of ‘em survived.”

Youko pretended to look surprised. “That’s not possible,” he said.

“Well it is, and word has gotten around that she’s back.” The man stood back up and returned to his cleaning. “Heard she was spotted in Gandara. Burned one of the Cerberus Heads to the ground.”

So some in the Makai believed Sayuri really was back. That was going to complicate matters. Youko was suddenly infinitely relieved that Mika had agreed to revert to her natural appearance. The plus side to all this was that there was no news regarding his own involvement. He could be inquisitive without seeming to be phishing.

He ordered another drink. “But who’s organizing them? Those low class scum move on instinct. They don’t have the wits to work together.”

The bartender shook his head. “That I don’t know. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen them myself.”

Youko frowned. That was troubling. If someone was recruiting an army there should at least be rumors about who was behind it. Fear of Sayuri couldn’t be enough for those types to band together. There had to be a mastermind behind it.

In any case, it had nothing to do with the amulet. He would just have to make sure Mika finished her mission and got home in one piece. Then he could go back to his retirement. He felt the whole ordeal would serve as a lesson to quit being an anonymous informant to the spirit world. Well, he wasn’t exactly anonymous anymore, Mika having discovered him.

He finished his drink and went back up to their room to check on her. She was sleeping soundly, but he knew she would want to eat before morning so he kept his promise to wake her up for dinner. He turned on the light in the room and shook her gently. “Hey sleeping beauty, you’re gonna miss dinner if you rest any longer.”

“Five more minutes,” she groaned and pulled the covers over her head.

“Nope,” he said, pulling the blankets away. “You can sleep after you eat.”

She pouted, squinting her eyes against the sudden brightness. “You’re really cruel, you know that?”

Youko shrugged. “Not half as cruel as I could be. I could just starve you.” She sat up, folding her arms across her chest, and stuck her tongue out at him. He smirked. “Don’t make that face at me princess, I’ll put that tongue right back in your head and you might just enjoy it.”

Her face turned as red as her cloak and she immediately shut her mouth. Which was a shame because he really wanted to do it. Ah well, at least he was going to deserve sleeping on the half couch. He made sure to stay out of reach of her fists as they headed down to the common room to grab something to eat.

Dinner consisted of overcooked meat, wilting vegetables, and loathsome glances from the wolf woman across from him. He could pretend she was disgusted by the lousy meat but he knew she was still angry with him for his earlier taunt. How was it his fault she was so easily baited? She’d be lucky if he was the worst she had to deal with. And he thought himself perfectly genteel when it came down to it.

Thankfully, with a full belly her mood improved. She stopped scowling at him at least. Maybe she’d remembered she needed him to complete her mission. He would need to remember not to mess with her so much if he wanted her to cooperate, regardless of how easy she made it for him to do so.

“So,” she finally broke her silence. “You find out anything interesting while I was napping?”

He shook his head. “Nothing I didn’t already know. Besides, this is not the place to discuss sensitive topics.”

She glanced around at the mostly empty common room. There were a few stragglers, but he didn’t want to talk about their plans in front of them. If the place had been full he might not have minded so much. Harder to overhear something when there were a dozen other conversations being held at the same time.

She nodded and rested her chin in her hand, quietly observing the other patrons. Her blue-grey eyes calculating. He could see the other Kurama’s influence there. She might be stubborn like her parents, but she was no fool. It was almost hard to believe this was her first foray into the Makai.

“There’s something that’s been bothering me,” he said. She cast him a sideway glance, untrusting. “If you’ve been in that Sanctuary all this time, how did you convince that man to let you come here with no backup?”

She remained still, unflinching, gaze penetrating. “By ‘that man’, are you referring to my father or his employer?”

“Technically speaking, your employer,” he replied. “But your father as well. He doesn’t strike me as the type to let you out of his sight.”

She closed her eyes. “He’s not the type to care what I do.” She sighed and locked his gaze again. “His only rule was that I don’t die. And already I almost broke that rule.” She chewed her lip in frustration.

“Aside from the end of that fight, I’d say you did pretty well,” he offered.

She laughed, mirthlessly at her own expense, but she laughed. “I did so well I wound up pierced by my own weapon, but yeah, whatever I take whatever little victories I can, I guess.”

“Considering the nature of the fight, I think you did your father proud.”

She considered him through thick lashes. A smile tugged at the corner of her lips, though she fought it down. “Is that what you think?”

He nodded, leaning back in his chair, forcing himself to look away from her. “You’ve been trained all your life to be the best that you can be by people who are the best at what they do. You were born with a strong heritage but have not been allowed to make use of that part of your strength. You were thrown to the wolves, if you’ll excuse the expression, and survived.”

“With help,” she muttered.

He sat forward in his seat, pointing a finger at her. “Don’t mistake accepting aid for weakness. Allies do not make you weak. They add to your strength while protecting your weak points.” Mika blinked back surprise and he sighed. “Take it from me. I learned that lesson far too late.”

She stared at her hands folded on the table. He hoped she was contemplating his words. When she looked up, her eyes were cautious. “There’s a difference between allies and comrades though, isn’t there?”

He shrugged. She wasn’t wrong. Alliances could be broken. Comrades usually had each other’s backs. “It’s not common for demons to have camaraderie,” he said, “but yes, it’s better to have a friend at your back than an ally that could be an enemy after the fight is over.”

“And which are you?”

The question caught him off guard. “What do you mean?”

She leaned forward so her face was inches from his. “Do you really have my back or are you just in it for yourself?”

Damn, she smelled good so close. Better to put that out of mind and play it safe. “I have your back so you don’t break your promise to your father. What kind of friend would I be if I let my old friend’s daughter die when I could protect her?”

She stared him down for a moment longer, eyes searching his. He stared back just as intently. He wasn’t about to say anything more. She relented, leaning back in her chair and resuming her inspection of the inn. “Fine.”

He raised an eyebrow, curious to what she was thinking, but chose not to pursue that line of questioning. Instead he figured he’d remind her of the other half of the original question. “And your esteemed employer?”

She shrugged. “I told him my father didn’t care what I did and that I was going whether he liked it or not and if he had any advice that would keep me alive that it would behoove him to offer it.”

Youko considered her response. It made sense. Koenma wouldn’t question Hiei, and Youko had seen firsthand how persuasive she could be. “Fair enough,” was all he said.

He figured she would leave it at that, but she continued. “I could have asked my sister to come, but I didn’t want to burden her.” She smiled, but her eyes were sad. “She even offered to come with me but I told her I would be fine on my own. I’m a fool,” she said, burying her face in her hands.

He sighed. “Just because you’ve done some foolish things it doesn’t make you a fool.”

She peered at him through her fingers. He heard her stifle a sob but it might have been a chuckle. He couldn’t be sure. “Why are you trying so hard to cheer me up?” she said, dropping her hands from her face. The ghost of a grin tugged at the corners of her mouth. So it had been a chuckle.

He smirked. “Because you’re useless when you’re lacking confidence. And because I have not said an untrue word. You’re perfectly capable.” Her grin solidified. Good. She was no fun when she was mopey. And he hadn’t teased her all through dinner nor their conversation afterwards. Maybe he could convince her to share the bed.

She saw right through him though. “You can compliment me all you want, you are not getting in that bed with me,” she announced.

“Oh come on,” he retorted. “It’s plenty big enough for the both of us.”

“The size of the bed is hardly the issue here, is it?” she answered, rising to head back to the room.

“And you say I’m the cruel one,” he muttered.

She giggled. He didn’t care if he had to sleep on the stupid loveseat. He had gotten a genuine laugh out of her. “I’m heading up,” she said. “All this excitement today really tuckered me out.”

“I won’t be long,” he said. “Just going to have a nightcap at the bar.”

She nodded and waved behind her as she headed for the stairs. The bartender teased him about his “woman troubles” and regaled him with tales of lover’s quarrels he’d seen over the years. He assured Youko that he was a handsome enough man that Mika would come around and forgive him whatever transgression had her so upset. He didn’t bother to correct the man. It was a good enough cover story.

When he returned to the room he found her sleeping curled up in the loveseat. She was right, she did fit better than he would. He smiled. She was too kind for her own good. He gently picked her up from the chair and laid her in the bed. She mumbled vague protests but he knew she was deeply asleep. He managed to find a comfortable position on the chair and shortly after joined her in the world of dreams.

Notes: So I cheated a little bit with this one. I edited tonight instead of writing fresh. I was gonna do an anecdotal tale for this one, but I couldn’t think of any unique hotel experiences worth sharing. It really is a great trope for stories though, and I remembered I had already written one. This is a chapter straight out of my fanfiction story that benefited from a little editing. Plus it means a longer tale for you to read since it’s more than I could normally churn out in an hour or two.

For some context, Mika was sent on a mission (she demanded a mission) to recover a valuable amulet in the demon world, having never been to the realm before. In her initial travels she gets into some trouble and is rescued by Youko. She is severely wounded in the fight and Youko brings her back to his place to heal her. Due to the circumstances of the end of the previous story (this scene is from the third with my characters), Youko the Legendary Kitsune has been reincarnated separate from the human Kurama we know and love (because plot device, shut up I’m a good writer). Mika is in a hurry to finish her mission and get back home, but Youko isn’t convinced she’s healed enough to go out on her own so he insists on accompanying her. Hilarity ensues.

Hotels are a fun setting for a story, or a scene in a story. Everyone loves some good ol’ romantic tension with the single bed dilemma. Or maybe there’s a peculiar feature in the room that makes it stand out. Get brainstorming! Write down some ideas! Or if you have memories of hotel stays, jot down some of the details! You never know when they’ll come in handy!

Have a great night! The week is half over! You can push through to the long weekend, I believe in you!

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