|In Ruins: Cut
Author: Azalee PM
Based on In Ruins, by Lanie Kay-Aleese; plotless, pointless, slightly fluffy gen. Satoshi needs a haircut. Shigeru is made volunteer to fix it.Rated: Fiction K - English - Friendship/Romance - Ash K./Satoshi & Gary O./Shigeru - Words: 1,728 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 28 - Follows: 1 - Published: 12-25-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6588323
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Pokémon, Satoshi, Shigeru and all belong to some important people. The characters as they are in this story, however, as well as the setting, are directly borrowed (with her permission) from Lanie Kay-Aleese's fanfiction In Ruins, which I whole-heartedly recommend everyone to read. So yep, all that belongs to me is what little plot there is in this particular fanfiction-of-a-fanfiction. (And even the inspiration for that was oh-so-accidentally given to me by Cassidy, aka my serial Poké-prompter.)
This is very inappropriate for the season, but still, a merry Christmas to you all! *hearts and cheers*
"I need a haircut," Satoshi finally notices offhandedly, staring at a lock of his soaked hair dangling in between his eyes, one morning at the bathhouse.
Shigeru can afford sighing out loud, relief easily passing as simple relaxation in the tranquil, comfortable atmosphere. "That you do."
Satoshi has been cleaning his hair and the weight of the water is pulling it down; it's sticking to his forehead, neck, shoulders and some of the length at the back is even reaching between his shoulderblades. It makes him look... oddly different - not exactly more mature, but definitely... older. Without the spikes sticking every which way up, with gravity finally getting its way, suddenly Satoshi's face looks so much less childish, less bold and overbearingly enthusiastic - still happy, somehow, but softer, quieter.
It's very disturbing.
Shigeru has been trying not to stare.
"You look ridiculous," he adds, for good measure, leaning his head against the brink of the cedar pool. "Even more than when it's dry and rebelling against gravity, I mean."
"It's impossible to comb down, okay?" Satoshi huffs, flushing a little. "It's just naturally... rebellious."
"Quite unlike you."
Satoshi frowns briefly, befuddledly trying to make out whether there was irony in those words, but eventually he seems to choose to drop it.
He doesn't towel his hair dry before they leave the bathhouse for work. Shigeru doesn't mention it, pretends not to notice how the water is still dripping down Satoshi's neck and drenching the rough fabric of the back of his tunic. Despite the hot sun beating down on them, Satoshi's hair is still sodden wet by the time they reach Tano's.
"Taaano-saaan," Satoshi calls, popping his head inside the house, "can I borrow you some scissors before we get started?"
"Good morning, Tano-san," Shigeru says pointedly.
Satoshi laughs a little, in light, carefree embarrassment, and says his greeting in turn; Tano just smiles in amusement at the both of them. "Good morning, boys. What ever could you need scissors for at this hour?"
Satoshi wordlessly grabs a fistful of his soggy hair. Tano chuckles and goes to fetch the tool in another room while Shigeru sits at the table, ready to start working.
Satoshi's elbow is sharp when digging in his ribs.
Satoshi just nods at the pair of scissors Tano is holding out to him, in a seemingly meaningful way but Shigeru just can't quite connect the dots.
"Can you cut my hair?" Satoshi finally thinks to ask. "I can't very well do it myself, you know? I mean, I don't care much but I'd risk looking really stupid."
"... Yes, alright, but - why ask me?"
Satoshi stops. For one single second, his entire body freezes and his mouth hangs half-open and utterly soundless.
Then he makes a strange, half-finished gesture that could pass as a shrug and just says, "What? Why not? Come on, hurry, we gotta start working one day!" - completely bypassing the question.
Shigeru glances past Satoshi's damp hair and shoulder at Tano, who has his back to them and is humming something to himself and conspicuously not paying them any heed.
"'S not like you'd need to be a pro or anything anyway," Satoshi is rambling, a slightly bratty, slightly whiney tone in his voice... that Shigeru hasn't heard in a while, actually, surprisingly. "Just get rid of everything that's too long, 's long as I can see what I'm doing I don't care how it looks, though still you better not make me look completely moronic -"
"I'll do it," Shigeru mutters, still looking at the same point over Satoshi's shoulder even though Tano has moved to another table. "We should do this by sunlight."
Satoshi's face brightens as if to illustrate his words. "Okay!"
They sit down right outside Tano's house, Satoshi flopping down with legs crossed and Shigeru kneeling behind him in the sun-warmed yellow dirt, scissors in hand.
He starts by combing Satoshi's hair as best he can, with his fingers.
This is the first time he touches Satoshi's hair, from what he can remember - and he would remember something like this, definitely.
Because they really don't touch much. One would think Satoshi's childish exuberance would have him poking and prodding and hugging people all the time, but it's far from the actual truth. For a short while Shigeru thought it was just him; from the way Satoshi would tense and bristle when they accidentally brushed he'd assumed that Satoshi couldn't stand his presence, let alone touching him, but careful observation has revealed Satoshi acts the same with everyone. He will initiate physical contact when appropriate or necessary, will grab people's shoulders or pat their backs or hold their hands if the moment asks for it, but it is never, ever gratuitous from his end.
It's just one more of the tiny contradictions Satoshi is made of, the way he never reaches out yet pulls everyone in anyway.
Shigeru can't remember the last time Satoshi consciously, deliberately asked him to touch him. Of course he doesn't seem to realize the appalling intimacy of the action, Shigeru's fingers treading through the glossy black strands and getting moist in turn as a result, sometimes inadvertently brushing the nape of his neck and the outer shells of his ears.
Shigeru learns that Satoshi's hair is rough even when freshly washed, but also healthy, sturdy, lively. He's not exactly surprised, but knowing it by experience is something else entirely, almost a shock.
He breathes in and his lungs fill with the smell of sundried earth, dust, and warm skin.
He allows himself to drag his fingers one final time through the soggy hair, pat a couple locks to flatten them against Satoshi's thick skull, then finally picks up the pair of scissors.
"Ready?" he murmurs, not managing to refrain a wild grin, which Satoshi seems to hear in his voice.
"Why do you sound so happy to be holding something sharp in my back?" he whines, but doesn't budge or even flinch when the blades snap next to his ear.
"Shut up now, I'm working."
"Oh yeah, it's real professional work."
Yet he does shut his mouth, and since the cut strands make absolutely no sound as they hit the ground, the only sound left is that of the blades snip-snapping sharply. That, and their breathing. At least, if they're not talking, Shigeru can focus a little - which is very necessary.
He's thankful Satoshi is facing away from him, because under the facade of impassiveness he's desperately trying to keep up, he's really as tense as Satoshi seems casual.
It's ridiculous, how this is affecting him, how every lock of hair that touches the ground wracks his nerves, how wound-up he's getting over something as innocuous as a haircut - but then again it's ridiculous what Satoshi can do to him lately, here.
He blames sunstroke.
The sun reflects off the silvery scissors, momentarily blinding him - one of the blades slides over the tan skin of the nape of Satoshi's neck, and they're so close Shigeru can feel the shiver going up the boy's spine exactly as well as he sees it.
"Sorry," he breathes, before the next snapping of blades and flutter of strands.
"It's fine." He can hear the grin in Satoshi's voice; he guesses it's wide but calm, gentle, serene.
It's ridiculous, and if Satoshi keeps this up he is going to find himself with just as ridiculous a hairstyle because Shigeru will have taken his frustration out on it.
Fortunately, Satoshi keeps mercifully quiet the entire time. Maybe he really has realized exactly how bad an idea it would be to antagonize someone you trust with your hair. Shigeru treads his free hand through the choppy locks just once more, just to check - the contrast with how it was just minutes earlier is almost shocking - and makes a small grunting noise of assent.
"It's good. Done."
"I think so. Needs to dry before we can see what it looks like, though."
"I'll get you good if you ruined it," Satoshi threatens, only half-joking, but grinning by way of thanks.
"Alright, boys," Tano calls from inside the house, "get to work if you're finally done!"
Satoshi shakes his head wildly, sprinkling droplets every which way and Shigeru yelps as a couple splash on his cheek; Satoshi playfully sticks his tongue out at him like the brat he is, before bounding to his feet, and he's retreated inside the workshop before Shigeru has even stood up.
"Not much change," Shigeru remarks, later. "It's still a mess."
Satoshi pouts, tugging on a dramatically shortened lock of hair. He's back to looking younger again. Shigeru would have thought it'd suit him better, but it's actually just as unsettling.
Satoshi isn't the kid he used to be anymore, not really. It's subtle, but definite - the slightest difference in his stance, in his gaze, Pikachu's glaring absence, and the set of his jaw and the expression on his face when he doesn't think Shigeru is looking.
"Whatever," he sighs, "at least I can see what I'm doing again."
Shigeru doubts he's ever going to stop being blind to what's right under his nose sometimes, but there's no point in saying it, is there?