by Wai

There was just something very, very wrong about it. He really should head over to the nearest barber or something. At least they'd be able to get it right. But he couldn't do it, didn't have the nerve to.

He laughed, harsh and much too bitter.

One hand shakily combing through his hair. It took less time now and it didn't feel silky the way it always is. It just...wasn't

He wanted to curse himself for being so weak, for succumbing to tears when all he lost It wasn't important really, not the way that regular spot is. But it was his hair and dammit, it took him forever to grow and then it took even longer to take care until it was absolutely perfect.

His gaze dropped, unable to see the harsh reality reflected on the mirror. He didn't like the way his hand was shaking, didn't like the softest caress of the wind on his nape. It felt too strange, like he was standing naked in the middle of the court and everyone was watching.

But they were, weren't they?

They all saw him take the scissors out and cut his hair? He saw the awe in some and blatant shock in others. And of course, the disgust in others, for he was willing to sacrifice his pride to retain his status.

How will he face them the next time? What would he say to the whispers and the stares? He couldn't shout, because he knew his throat would be too dry. He couldn't very well glare when he couldn't even raise his gaze lower than the ground.

Damn it all.

He didn't hear the door creak open or the padded footsteps on the empty locker room floor. But he did feel the tentative hand on his shoulder. He stiffened for a moment and nearly lashed out when fingers toyed with the jagged ends of butchered hair.

But the touch was soft, almost afraid, but it was so sure. And there was only one person who was able to do that. He felt himself relax, just a fraction, allowing the other to sit beside him. He refused to look, keeping his gaze stubbornly on the floor.

"I can help." The voice said, barely a whisper, fingers entangled in his short hair--damn, he'll never get used to it.

"Don't bother." He managed, feigning nonchalance. "I'll get it done right by this weekend. Maybe my mom will do it when I get home."

"I want to help." The voice was louder this time, yet tinged with a soft longing. Fingers ran through his hair, the touch unsure, suddenly resting on his nape once more. "Can I help?"

There were so many answers he could have given and it was obvious which one it should have been. He should push him away and leave it at that.

But...damn it, how is it possibly to convey feelings with just the slightest touch? He knew what would happen if he agreed, knew what would change if he accepted. And throwing caution to wind and beginning what could have been the end for them both, he finally nodded.

"The scissors are over there." The touch moved to his shoulder, squeezing gently.

"Thank you, Shishido-senpai."

The End

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