Run With Scissors (cont)

Then Heero started the agonizing process of unbraiding my hair, something that never hurts unless your hair is burnt together in some places and tangled in just about every other place. I knew he was trying really hard not to hurt me, but there was only so much he could do, of course. And I just sat there letting the shower water slap me in the face, refusing to flinch whenever Heero unintentionally yanked on my hair.

After he was done performing his miniature torture session, he gathered all my hair into his hands and made sure it was wet through and through before reaching for the shampoo bottle. I use generic shampoo. Bite me. So what if I'm a cheapo? I like the way it smells and hey, it's 79 cents for a big old family-size bottle! Can't beat that! What a bargain! I still pat myself on the back for discovering it.

Heero practically had to sit in my lap in order to get his arms around to the back of my head. Of course, I was purposely making things difficult for him. He had to lean me against the side of shower to stop me from slipping backwards and getting my hair even more tangled than it already was. A combination of limited shower space and Heero's not-so-long arms made for awkward positioning.

Naturally, I forgot about all that the minute I felt Heero's fingers sink into my hair. Fingers that were so good at piloting Zero system- infested Gundams and pulling the trigger on guns during the war could be so damn gentle now that they didn't have to worry about those kinds of things anymore. I love when Heero washes my hair; I've actually fallen asleep a couple of times when he's doing it. But I swore to myself that I wasn't going to enjoy it this time. Easier said than done, of course. It was all I could not to close my eyes and sigh contentedly as his fingers massaged my scalp.

I tried to distract myself by staring pointedly at one spot in the shower stall, but THAT didn't work since Heero - or rather, Heero's chest - was right in front of me. Hot damn. That certain brand of tank top must have run large since one sleeve, heavy with water, had slid off his shoulder and a good ways down his chest, leaving one of his nipples exposed. Water glistened on his chest, and I barely managed to stop myself from leaning forward to lick it off. From dragging my tongue down his warm, wet skin so that I could lap and suck at that uncovered nipple. I wanted to wrap my arms around his waist and cradle the rounded curve of his backside in my hands. I wanted to push him against the shower wall and pleasure him until he was moaning helplessly in my arms. No more scissors. No more "Duo, I have to cut your hair". Just me and Heero and another night of bliss.

A simple wish. Was that too much to ask?

Apparently it WAS since Heero suddenly reached up and shut off the shower. I blinked, realizing that he was done washing my hair. I had had my head so far into the clouds that I hadn't noticed.

Typical me.

"Let's go," he whispered, brushing my bangs back from my eyes. I didn't say anything in response, but I made the near-fatal mistake of looking at his face. Dripping wet bangs couldn't throw a curtain over the warmth and tenderness shining in his eyes. Shining in his eyes. God, that sounds so corny, I know, but his eyes really seemed to be shining. Glittering in the semi-darkness of the shower stall. It then occurred to me that this might be causing him pain as well.

I felt tears stinging my eyes and hurriedly blinked the little buggers back. //Toughen up, you pussy// I told myself harshly. //You haven't cried in years, and you're not about to fucking start right now!//

Heero gathered me up in his arms again, his slick hands fighting for a grip on my equally wet body. I hoped he wasn't going to slip and kill us both on the way to... wherever the hell we were going. Our destination turned out to be the bathtub. Heero sat me on the edge of it so that my bare feet were resting inside the bathtub and my back was to him and the rest of the bathroom. The better to hack away at my hair, I realized. Shit. He was really going to do it! I felt him tugging gently on the strands, obviously trying to get them untangled enough so that they were at their actual lengths when he started to cut them. That was when I began to feel really fucking embarrassed. I mean, here I was being this huge nineteen-year-old baby, making Heero drag me around the apartment, give me a bath, fuss with my hair, and endure my nasty deathglares... all because I didn't want a haircut. Shouldn't be this important.

It's just hair, after all. Just hair. Just hair. Just hair.

-"Geez, kid, that's a lotta hair you got there."-

-"I know. You wanna make sumthin' of it?"-

//Shit... no... //

I didn't want a haircut! God, I really really really didn't want to lose any of my hair! Anything but that. In that moment, I would've rather slit my own throat with those scissors if it meant that my hair would remain untouched. What a lovely corpse I'd make. Bloody gaping throat and shining hair.

But I knew I wasn't going to be able to sway Heero. He was right, of course. Yeah. This was something that needed to be done. It wasn't like I could let my braid grow so long that I would be able to jump rope with it...

No... but... still... this was wrong. They would never forgive me! I turned around and decided to give mewling and begging one last try. "Please don't cut my hair, Heero," I whispered pleadingly, staring into his eyes. My throat suddenly felt tight.

He shook his head and leaned forward to gently kiss me on the cheek. "Turn around, Duo," he ordered firmly.

I automatically did what he told me to, but the panic that I had managed to fight until then was starting to put me in a stranglehold. I began to tremble, and I put my hands between my knees in an attempt to make my hands be still. Shit, it was horrible. I normally have such good control over my body, and this was totally messing up my brag-factor.

I heard the sliding of metal over metal as Heero opened the scissors behind me. He had tried to make it quiet, but... damn me for having such sharp hearing. His fingers combed through my hair, straightening it out one last time.

-"Dammit, Purple Eyes, your goddamn hair gets all over the place when you're swiping somethin'!"-

-"Well geez, gimme some goddamn scissors and I'll cut it for ya!"-

//Shit... not now... //

"No... dammit," I heard myself whisper, feeling the scissors cold against the small of my back.

Snip.

I let out this horrible strangled noise, like I was choking on my own tongue or something. It sure fucking felt like I was. "No... Heero... stop."

Snip.

-"You got some kinky hair, kid, but it's cool. Don't ever cut it, you hear me?"-

-"I hear ya, Solo!"-

Snip.

"Damn you," I whispered vehemently to Heero. "Damn you to hell."

-"Stop it! Stop it I said!!"-

Snip.

-"What's wrong?"-

-"Father, this child refuses to have his hair cut!"-

-"You got that right!!"-

Snip.

-"It's bad enough that I have to wear these stupid-looking clothes! There's no way I'm letting you cut my hair!"-

Snip.

-"But it's so unkempt. It's unsanitary."-

-"My hair is not unsanitary!!!"-

Snipsnipsnip.

My world was a nightmare. Somewhere in the hidden recesses of my pea- sized brain, I knew that I was sitting on the edge of our bathtub, soaking wet and clad in only my cotton boxers, and that Heero was cutting my hair - the only companion that had remained by my side throughout my entire hellish life. When I squeezed through a narrow hole in a fence, my hair got hung up on the splinters. When I tripped and fell on the pavement, my hair always folded over my shoulders, warm and tickling and comforting. When a fatally ill Solo died in my arms, he had a fistful of my hair clasped in one of his small fists. And when I ran through the charred, blackened remains of the Maxwell Church, the smell of death clung to my hair, weaving itself into the strands and making itself right at home.

And Death never left.

I tried to tell myself it was just hair, I really did. But no matter how fiercely or how many goddamn times I did so, it just never became the truth for me. I didn't believe my own lie. Sad thing. Because it wasn't just hair. It was a witness, a companion, a friend that never snapped at me or glared coldly at me... and now it was being brutally cut away. Like it was nothing. People didn't know! People didn't fucking understand! They didn't know about the boy named Solo who used to finger-comb my hair when he thought I was asleep. They didn't know about Sister Helen, the woman who had first woven my unruly hair into a braid. They didn't know about Father Maxwell, who used to tug gently on the end of my braid when he was scolding me, as if to soften the blows of his words.

They didn't know. They couldn't understand. Fuck them. Just fuck them.

I was so out of it - lost in dark memories - that I didn't notice when the scissors stopped their horrible snipping. I didn't notice when Heero was rebraiding my hair. I returned from the Twilight Zone to find myself cradled in Heero's warm arms. He had me settled in his lap and was rocking me back and forth, something he had never done before. Kinda fucking creepy.

"It's over, Duo," he was whispering to me. "It's over."

I suddenly crash-landed back into reality. My head felt lighter, and looking to the ground at my side, I saw that the braided rope of hair lying on the tiles was shorter. A lot shorter.

//Shit... no... no... //

I whirled on Heero, infuriated beyond all reason. "I hate you!" I told him in a scathing whisper. "I hate you!!"

"That's too bad," Heero said simply as he rose to his feet with me still in his arms. "Because I love you."

What kind of person does it take to say something like that? What kind of heart still has the courage and strength enough to tell some "I love you" when said asshole has just declared that they hate your guts? Just goes more to show that Heero is three times the man -three times the person - I'll ever be. I should feel depressed at that, but it doesn't bother me. He's Heero, and I love him with all my heart.

I was trying to find words to tell him this as he carried me out of the bathroom and into our bedroom. He put me on my feet next to our bed, and though my legs felt as limp as overcooked noodles, I managed to avoid falling and munching the carpet. I watched dumbly as Heero stripped off his tank top and jeans, leaving them in a soaking wet pile on the floor. His boxers joined the pile, and a minute later, so did mine. Both of us stark naked, he wrapped his arms around me and lay down on the bed, pulling me on top of him and arranging the covers around the both of us.

And before you go getting any ideas, this is NOT Heero's way of saying that he wants to have sex. This is just something weird he does. Whenever I'm feeling depressed or when I'm pissed at him, Heero lies down and tugs me on top of him. I don't know why he does that. Probably thinks that if I'm in a position of dominance, I'll feel better or something. I also think it might be his way of, you know, "bowing" down to me, for the lack of a better word. Like whenever animals sort of duck their heads when they come across an enemy stronger than them. Okay, I KNOW that's not the best analogy! I'm not a psychiatrist. So sue me.

But as much as I appreciated Heero's efforts to console me, I really didn't want to be dominant at the moment. I wanted to cuddle up against him like a big baby and bawl my eyes out. Been a long time since I had last cried. Maybe I was due for a sudden eruption of tears or something.

Heero cradled my face in his hands and lightly stroked one of my cheeks. "Are you alright, Duo?" he whispered gently, clear and unadulterated worry shining in his eyes. Of course, the fact that he was still worried about me after everything I had said make me feel like an even bigger assmunch.

I gave this really weird whimpering sound and buried my face in his naked chest, feeling his arms slide around my shoulders and clasp me closer to him. "I'm sorry, Heero," I told him in a wavering voice. "I'm sorry I said I hated you! I don't hate you! I love you!" My eyes were burning.

"I know, Duo. I know," Heero said softly as he stroked my back.

"I'm trying to cry but I can't," I confessed suddenly. It was the truth. The one time I fucking wanted to cry, and the tears were refusing to come. Stubborn little pricks.

"Don't worry," Heero murmured into my damp hair. "It's alright if you cry. I'm not going to think any less of you."

"Really?"

"Really." He kissed the top of my head.

"Okay."

I started bawling. Just like that. Lame, I know, but the floodgates just decided that they wanted to break at that exact moment. I cried for a long time, muffling my sobs and sniffles into the warm skin of Heero's chest. And he just held me the entire time, wrapping me in warmth and comfort. At some point he rolled me onto my back and started kissing my tears away. I let him, just reveling in his presence, his comforting weight on top of me, his smooth skin against mine.

My hair might have been really important, but Heero means the world to me. My hair didn't smell like danger and Lever 2000 soap. But Heero did. My hair couldn't wipe the salty tears away from my cheeks. But Heero could. My hair couldn't take my pain away. But Heero could.

My hair couldn't tell me it loved me. But Heero could.

~owari~

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