I am caught in the loops of your hair

Kendappa-ou tilts her head back, and her sheet of hair is a curtain of ink that falls to the ground over the edge of the marble bath, so soft and fine that it coils on itself and snakes across the floor like water.

"Couldn't you have let me pin it up first?" Sohma asks. It is the closest that she can come to scolding.

"It will behave itself," Kendappa-ou answers, and tosses a melting glance back over her shoulder. "Come comb it for me?"

Of course she does. She kneels down by the bath, and picks up the jade comb which Kendappa-ou has discarded. "Tell me if I hurt you," she says.

"Of course," Kendappa-ou whispers. She closes her eyes, and rests her shoulders against the edge of the bath. They are whiter than the marble.

Stroke, release: stroke, release: the comb passes along the strands of hair. There are no tangles. It is a meditation in itself, and Sohma is almost lost in it until Kendappa-ou opens her eyes to look up at Sohma. Those huge dark eyes are drowning pools, black lotuses, dark moons in a pale sky.

"What are you thinking of?" Kendappa-ou asks.

"Only of you," Sohma answers, and her hands move through Kendappa-ou's hair, as though she could catch the other woman in a net of it and have her for her own.

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