Title: Cutting It Loose
Author: Candyland
Fandom: Kaitou Saint Tail: A Catholic schoolgirl rights wrongs through slightly illegal means while dealing with her classmate and crush. Who is also in charge of arresting her magical alter-ego. I don't own it!
Wordcount: 834
Taunt: My fandom turns stealing into a religious experience.


When she went to school that day, she was already well aware that she was going to get a lot of looks. But Meimi just squared her shoulders as she stepped past the gate into the schoolyard and prepared herself to project her usual confidence and good nature.

It was a good thing she did, because the comments and glances and double-takes started as soon as someone noticed that she had arrived. And by the time she made it to the actual school building, her smile was already growing a bit strained. It felt like she'd just had the exact same conversation sixty times, and there were still more people already inside the school.

The comments she received were compliments, and no few exclamations of surprise (and a bit of dismay from a few) that she had undergone so drastic a change. When asked for the why of the radical alteration, she simply said that she wasn't a child anymore, and it was time for a change.

But Meimi couldn't tell them exactly how big the change was, nor what had ultimately prompted it.

Still, there was one person who had not seen the new Meimi. And it was the most important person of all, really. He had to be around there somewhere, probably lurking somewhere. Or napping. Or perhaps he was running late this morning.

That last turned out to be the case. Asuka slipped into the room just as the teacher was beginning class and took his seat without a word. She felt his eyes narrow in on her immediately, and stay on her, and she knew he was probably very surprised. And she hoped he would understand why…

He would probably understand better than anyone, really.

But she did not get to speak to him about it until much later that day. She snuck away as the last bell rang and went to the small church on the school's grounds. Seira was nowhere to be seen, which was a bit too convenient. Perhaps the nun-to-be had chosen to absent herself because of the meeting that was undoubtedly to take place in this chapel.

So Meimi stood at the front, before the small altar, and gazed up at the images on the wall.

When she heard the door open behind her some minutes later, she did not turn, but listened to the footsteps coming down the center aisle. Slow, heavier than her own, and somehow purposeful. There was no question in her mind as to who it was that had come to join her here.

Sure enough, Asuka Jr. wandered into her peripheral vision a moment later, hands casually in the pockets of his school uniform. "…you cut your hair," he said simply, no little curiosity in his tone.

Meimi chuckled. "Yup. I did it last night." She reached up with one hand to push her newly-shorn locks behind her ear. Having worn her hair long for years, it felt strange to have it at this length. She would run her fingers through her hair and have said hair stop above her shoulders. And it felt so light! "What do you think? Do you like it?"

"It's…it's definitely different," he said slowly.

Her smile faded. "You…don't like it?" Granted, she liked it, and that was what mattered most. But…

Cue the panic. "N-no! That's not what I said!" His arms were waving frantically as his face reddened and he tried to backtrack. "It's just a really big change and it'll take some getting used to. I mean…" He rubbed at the back of his neck with one hand, trying to find the words to explain, "…you've had long hair since for as long as I've known you. It's a really big difference."

…there was something a little bit gratifying in knowing that she had the power to make him go a little bit crazy like that. But he was right: she knew perfectly well that it was a big change. She felt it more than anyone, in the way her head felt lighter, how she ran her fingers through her hair and found less of it there to touch, how she could no longer pull her hair back into a ponytail…

It was something that she had been considering for a while, ever since that night in the cathedral. The night she had given up her life as a kaitou and stolen back the most precious thing in the world. Now and then she found herself missing that life and the excitement of the hunt and the chase and the prize. In the end, this was the best way she knew of to make things the way they were supposed to be.

To finally cut the past loose and focus on what was still to come.

In the end Meimi smiled. "But…do you understand why I did it?"

Asuka looked thoughtful for a moment before the light came on. "Yeah," he nodded, taking her hand and giving it a squeeze. "I do."


PS. I had this idea way back when I first watched part of the Saint Tail series, and never wrote it. Then I started doing 100fandomhell, and it came back to bite me in the leg. Thanks for reading, all! Much love!