Disclaimer: I own very little.

Fire and Blood

Your hair is red. A bright, vibrant red, enough to draw gazes you'll never notice. More than once have I heard someone saying how well it reflects your fiery character. I guess it's true enough, explosive as you are, impossible to ignore.

A few times I've seen you with your hair down, the long, thick locks like a waterfall of flames. I know I'd be laughed at if anyone ever knew I'm thinking like this, but I cannot help it. The memory of those flowing locks sometimes makes me wish I could simply cut the band holding your hair back, free it all and run my hands through it. You wouldn't understand, though, and neither would anyone else, and even if you did I don't think I'm ready for you to know how I feel – if I'll ever be.

I'm your captain, aren't I, the one who is always cool and collected, who never shows any emotions. I know you simply want to beat me, that you only stay close to me to find my weaknesses, but that doesn't bother me. As long as you stay by my side, I won't care why you do so. I'll never say anything, and you'll never know, and your hair is like fire.

Fire burns, though, and one must not touch it, as I well know.

Blood, I think sometimes; your hair is like freshly spilled blood, just drawn from a wound, smelling of pain and tears. Old blood is darker, though, just like pain fades as old wounds heal. Your hair is fresh, ever painful, and whenever I see an escaped lock clinging to your brow I force myself to look away.

Blood, fresh blood, is still darker when it flows on the ground, though. I see this clearly as I see you, lying in a pool of blood, some of it your opponent's but much yours, too, too much so. The scent floods my nostrils, and the smell, it's that of pain. The pain is not yours, though, not anymore.

Your hair is free, the usual band torn into pieces, the red locks spread all around your head, like a halo of death and destruction. Unable to help myself, I kneel down next to you. I don't say anything, no last words or confessions, for I know all too well you are beyond any words already.

Almost subconsciously, I tangle my hand in your hair, no more afraid of the pain it would cause, for no pain could be greater than what I feel now, the new wound added to old scars torn open in my heart. A moment, and I find myself sliding my blade through the soaked strands, a red lock in my hand as I stand up.

The lock of fire, of fresh blood, is now the exact same shade as the stains on my haori where it has soaked in the blood on the ground around you, and never do I dream of leaving it behind. Turning around, I face the still ongoing battle, my blade at the ready.

And then, your hair is just that, hair, for the blood I always saw in it is that of my opponents, and the fire is my fury as I enter the battle.

And the pain is inside me, hidden deep out of sight, a lock of your hair on my belt as I do not cry.