Spirit was tired. The recent battle had been long, it had rained throughout the whole time and his trip through the swamp had resulted in a great deal of sticky stinky slimy mud getting into every part of his body, including his long braids. The long slice that he'd gotten from one of Cobra's fragmentation grenades reached over his right shoulder and onto his upper chest. Doc had fussed over it with plenty of concern and stitched it up neatly after cleaning it out with sadistic wound wash that made even the renowned stoic wince.
His very long shower had used up nearly half a bottle of shampoo but at least his hair was clean. Of course, scrubbing long hair wasn't the best of care for it. Now he had a head full of tangles and mats. As soon as he'd begun trying to brush at it, he discovered that using his left hand to hold the brush was impossible. Charlie Iron Knife really liked to believe he was pretty capable with either hand but somehow he had overlooked the key ability to brush his own hair left-handed.
Frustrated by the stitched wound in his shoulder and his inept fumbling at his hair, for the first time in a decade, Spirit looked at his hair and thought of how much easier it would be to shave it all off. The thought only lasted a millisecond. But it had appeared in his head and that was scary enough to kill his ego. He took the hairbrush firmly in hand, stared into the bathroom mirror for a few more seconds, psyching himself up. Then he headed for the main Joe rec room to ask one of the ladies for help.
Spirit was annoyed at the necessity. But of course, it was not as if he were not on friendly terms with almost all of the Joes. Somehow his appearance of "wise Indian shaman" made people feel his was approachable and knew how to help them feel better about decisions in their lives. He didn't mind.
Entering the rec room, he paused to see who was in there. A loud whoop of laughter let him know that Shipwreck was in residence.
"Spirit, you look like you put your finger in a light socket!" The sailor gave another laugh or two and turned back to the card game. "Hey... did you touch my tokens? Don't be stealing the lollipops, man." His opponents acted innocent and the game moved on.
Spirit sighed and shook his head slightly as he walked up to where CoverGirl and LadyJaye sat arguing over some sort of purple dress in a magazine. "Excuse me?" Both of them looked up at him and he held up his hairbrush. "I would not like to impose but... " He motioned at his shoulder. "With my injury I cannot brush the mats out of my hair and I thought perhaps one of you..."
To his surprise they instantly looked at each other with challenge in their eyes. CoverGirl spoke first. "I do happen to know all about hair care and how to salvage tangled wind-blown hair."
LadyJaye didn't give in easily. "I've managed all kinds of hair for undercover work. I even pretended to work in a hair salon once."
CoverGirl's eyes narrowed. "Okay, rock-paper-scissors?" Jaye nodded and the two ladies proceeded to pump fists and on three showed their sign and CoverGirl crowed happily. "Yes!"
LadyJaye sighed and raised her hand hopefully. "Two out of three? No? Fine." She watched CoverGirl grab the brush and motion grandly to a chair nearby. "I should get a turn too though. I mean, come on Court... we're good friends, and good friends share."
Now humming happily, the tank driver began fluffing the hair, looking through it carefully before she began. "Well, maybe. If you agree to share that French perfume I know you're hoarding, I'll give you a couple minutes."
Spirit spoke up in confusion. "Are you bargaining time brushing my hair in exchange for things?"
"Hush you. This is a mess, but don't worry, it'll all come out!" Taking small bits of his hair, she worked at the ends first, gently detangling it bit by bit. Spirit was pleased she didn't mind but was slightly puzzled at the humming she did and how Jaye kept making up reasons that she should also brush it. "In a WHILE Jaye! I won fair and square." Spirit tried to simply sit there and not fidget.
Jaye sighed and reached out to tug a lock of the long dark hair free. "You have such very nice hair." She jerked her hand back when threatened by the brush. "Hey, I wasn't interfering."
"Just you wait your turn." CoverGirl lifted a section of hair and brushed it down the length. "I can't believe all the twigs and bits of stuff in here. I'm half expecting to find eggs in a nest."
"The swamp and river were hard on it but I shampooed it very well." Spirit shifted his weight a little. "I got it as clean as I could. I can't lift my arm much."
"Oh it's fine. Washing probably just made all these tangles worse though." CoverGirl continued to work on the long hair, working the brush through it bit by bit. It felt nice actually. A bit like a soothing scalp massage in fact. Spirit had been half-braced to have it yanked and pulled on to get it sorted out. Mentioning that made CoverGirl scoff a bit. "Oh no, I'm very tender-headed so I hate when a stylist yanks at my hair. I won't hurt you."
Dusty wandered over and watched for a moment. Spirit thought of about four different things to say to try to have his fellow Joes not make fun of him, then decided staying silent and enjoying the brushing was the best bet.
"Why are you doing Spirit's hair?" Dusty peered at the still tangled up section.
"It's messed up and he can't brush it himself. He's got stitches in his shoulder. Be nice Dusty." CoverGirl put on a unconcerned expression. "Don't you go teasing him either."
Spirit decided to up the act a little. "He can try teasing me. As long as you keep brushing." He let out a soft sigh, which was probably a bit theatrical, but then some of the Joes were a bit dense when it came to subtlety.
As he could have predicted, Dusty went from about-to-taunt to looking envious right away. "Well, I could have gotten injured too." Dusty reached up and scuffed his hair. "Maybe Jaye could brush my hair!"
Jaye gave him a scathing look. "There's nothing wrong with your arms. Go brush your own hair." She turned back to her friend. "Court, come on, it's my turn now, right?"
After making a bit of a face, CoverGirl gave in. "Okay but just for a couple minutes. You don't get to take over!"
Jaye scrambled to her feet and gleefully took over, brushing the long hair gently and cooing at the texture. "Oh I would kill for hair like this."
Dusty went back to flop onto one of the battered couches next to Clutch. "Isn't hardly fair. I'm nice to them all the time. Spirit barely says two words in a row to anyone and there he's getting his head fondled by pretty women."
Clutch glanced up and shrugged. "Well, if you grow out your hair and it's all pretty like Spirit's hair, maybe they'll fawn over it for you too." He flipped a couple pages in his magazine. "Of course, they may end up braiding it up with pink ribbons too, might not end as well as Spirit thinks it might."
Spirit opened his eyes wide. "Wait... you two wouldn't actually do that, right?"
CoverGirl smiled happy from where she was resting her chin in one hand watching Jaye and the clock at the same time. "Oh hush you. Don't worry. Clutch is just all jealous. I'm certain we have some perfectly manly blue ribbons to use."
Spirit's dismayed noise made her smile evilly. She raised an eyebrow at Jaye. "Your time is almost up."
"Aww, but I just started! You go get the ribbons and some rubber bands!"
Spirit's sigh of resignation seemed awfully loud. But then, at least his hair wouldn't be matted anymore.