Author: ZawehZaweh PM
Maria needs a change.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Friendship - Altaïr & Maria T. - Words: 1,083 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 12 - Published: 01-10-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7727719
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
He runs his fingers through the dark, silky locks one last time, burning the sensation of it into his fingertips. It is still wavy, undone from the crowned braid that it is usually styled in. His fingers catch on tangles and kinks. Maria makes a small noise, distaste in the lines of her mouth. He is purposefully drawing it out, prolonging the inevitable, and they both know it.
"Are you certain?" Altair asks, wrapping the strands around his finger. He doesn't meet her gaze when he feels her defiant, completely certain glare. It snags on his finger when she collects it over her shoulder in a huff, leaving behind a trail of loose hair.
Maria doesn't so much as wince.
"If you refuse to be an adult about this, then I'll just do it myself," she snaps, and he knows that's no empty threat. He is only allowed this because he had all but pleaded for the task when he had learned of her intentions, a throwing knife (one of a set of ten, given a month previous as a gift) in hand and determination set in her jaw.
She straightens suddenly, and he frowns at the smirk being aimed at him over her shoulder. "Or..," she drawls thoughtfully, running a hand down the length of her hair. "I could have Malik do it."
It's his turn to glare, and Maria laughs, very nearly pouting (but he doesn't because he is an adult and also an assassin and neither of those pout like children) when all it does is worsen the fit. Altair feels he should be more indignant about this, but then she is smiling, teasing, all teeth and mirthful eyes, and he softens despite himself.
Breathing a quiet sigh, he picks up the pairing of shears (the knife replaced and returned to its holster) that is been resting on the bed sheets of their shared bed. Still, he hesitates, thumbing the inner edges of the shears as curiosity took hold of his thoughts. Maria notices, smile waning as she turns to face him fully, eyes flickering from his uncharacteristically fidgeting hands to his face.
And though she frowns, Maria does not seem surprised at the quiet question, instead drawing away. She turns from him again, elbows leaning heavily on her knees as she seems to contemplate the floor.
Her hair curtains her face, disguising it as well as any hood, but the tension that lines her body gives her thoughts away. When she speaks, it is low and slow, each word carefully considered.
"When I had joined the knights, I cut off everything from my previous life," there is no pain in the words, those scars long since healed, but the weariness that weighs them down makes Altair shift. He slides next to where she is perched on the edge of the bed, nudging knees and shoulders comfortingly, and she leans into him. She rarely spoke of her templar days, and the burden of her past was heavy on her heart. "Everything."
"But Robert-" she hesitates when he tenses, the metal of the shears biting into his tight grip. But when no further reaction is given, she continues."...He never made me compensate for what I am. Who I am. I was as capable a fighter as any, and this," -she gestures to her head-" had nothing to do with it."
."But then why-"
She cuts him off with a stern look, the one she a Malik seem to share that says how many haystacks have you missed, exactly? She doesn't give him a chance to protest that point. " That was then, and it may as well be a lifetime away now. Look at me, look at us. Things have changed, Altair." I have changed.
They look at each other for a long moment, dark and prideful eyes daring him to challenge her. It wasn't one he planned on taking, so he nods instead, earning a small, pleased smile that pushes away any reservations he still might have had.
Altair moves to settle behind her, pressing his mouth to her clothed shoulder before leaning back, grabbing a handful of hair. " I've only done this for myself before," he warns quietly as he wonders where to start. Not many in the order let their hair grow beyond their shoulders, and he certainly had never allowed it past his ears. " I cannot promise how it will look."
Maria considers this, but then shakes her head, almost pulling out of his loose grip. "It's fine. As long as it is gone, that is all that matters."
He smiles at the determination in her words, and decides he's put it off long enough. He lifts the shears, and the first lock and years of memories and pain fall to the bed.
When all is said and done, he finds he can't stop running his fingers through the downy soft of Maria's freshly cropped hair, flyaway curls tickling his nose when he presses gentle kisses to her scalp. She chuckles at his antics, batting him away when he moves down to her revealed nape. He catalogs the reaction away, and wonders if Malik will do the same later.
She runs her own hand through it, smoothing it down (or at least trying to, for it would simply spring back up again). There is a languid ease about her, as if the weight she had been carrying was cut away like the hair off her shoulders. She laughs, then, as if in disbelief of the whole thing, and turns to him with a bright grin, and he can't seem to breath.
Without the crown of braids or waves of hair to surround it, her face begins to stick out. The soft angle of her jaw seems to be sharper. Her narrow eyes seems to shine, burning with strength and pride. The crook in her nose, an injury that never healed properly, is more noticeable, serving to remind those in doubt that she is, and always will be, a fighter.
Altair falls in love with her again in the span of a moment.
"How does it look?" Maria asks, grin dimming under his intense scrutiny. He remembers to breath just in time to pull her into a fierce kiss, and she's laughing again into it, light as its never been, and he thinks he could get addicted to the sound.