Disclaimer: Noblesse isn't mine.

A/N: This is from Takeo's point of view. It's a gift for someone that read all of my stories in a very short period of time. The prompt is something reflective about Takeo. I consider this a companion story to Tao's "Rain" one shot.


I Hate Tao Sometimes

I hate Tao sometimes.

The cold seeps though the folds of my coat where the buttons loosely hold the fabric together, and I wish that I had worn something with a zipper instead. I'm freezing, but it's too soon to go back to the house. After the scene we just caused, I should be grateful that I had grabbed a coat at all.

There are gloves in the pockets. I slip them over my hands and blow into them until the numbness leaves my fingers. My joints feel stiff, and they already ache. I wrap the scarf around my neck until the layers lap over my mouth and nose. The fabric catches the moisture on my breath, making it feels sticky against my skin. I pull my hair out from under the scarf and let it fall limply down my back.

I'm walking away from the house. I'm not sure where I'm going. The park, maybe? Yeah, the park. That should be empty this time of night. I really don't want to be around anyone right now. I don't even want to look back at the house just incase someone is watching. The idea that he may be there, waiting for me to glance back, bothers me more than the cold. I just want to be alone for once. Somewhere he isn't.

The snow on the sidewalk reaches above my ankles. It tumbles into my shoes and melts until my socks are as wet as the hems of my jeans. I hate really hate winter, and I hate Tao all the more. It's his fault that I'm out here. It's cold, and I'm miserable. And the worst part of all of this? I'm wearing Tao's coat.

He put his coat on my hanger. I was too angry to notice. He's so careless sometimes. He's always doing something like that. I think it's on purpose sometimes, but I can't be sure.

I shove a heap of snow off the park bench and collapse into the seat. There's no one around just as I had wanted, but the snow muffles all sound. The silence feels lonely. I can feel the slats of the bench through my clothing, and I pull the sleeves of the coat further down my arms. Tao's smaller than me. The cuffs don't even reach my wrists. I rip off the coat and throw it on the ground. I'd rather be cold than deal with this.

There's a tangle where the coat collar had rubbed against the strands of my hair. I take off the gloves and begin to work it out with my fingers. This is how it had started, Tao messing with my hair. It had been innocent at first. Tao had yanked the end of my ponytail during breakfast this morning. I had laughed about it. I always do. It's easier to laugh than to get mad at him. But it didn't stop there. He escalated though out the day until he stood with a pair of scissors and a lock of my hair in his hands. I couldn't say anything at first. It wasn't even that he had cut my hair. I couldn't believe that he had forgotten our agreement.

It had happened years ago. The DA-5 had first formed, and none of us really knew each other. We didn't see each other as comrades, much less as friends, but it was before we had learned to treat each other as enemies. Tao had made an off hand comment about my hair getting long. It had only grown down to my shoulders back then. I glared back at him and told him that I'd cut it after he got rid of that stupid bowl cut.

That bowl cut. Ah, I wish I could laugh about it now, but I still can't think about it without wincing. The bowl cut was the standard hairstyle given by a lazy researcher. He had only just recently been released from an experiment. I knew what it meant. He knew what it meant, and I still took a jab at it.

Tao had only smirked over his computer monitors. "Deal."

He took it so lightheartedly, but I could never be sure. Did he really not mind, or was he afraid to show his true emotions? It bothers me in a way. I hate to think that he is constantly reminded of what he has been through because of me. I wish I could free him of this, but if he won't change his hairstyle, then I won't cut mine. If he suffers because of it, so will I. It's our agreement, our deal, but that had happened years ago. And we had never mentioned it again.

Snow drops from the sky in sloppy, wet globs. They're invisible until they hit the glow of the streetlights. I can hear snow crunching behind me, but I don't look to see who it is. I don't need to. I already know.

Tao dumps my coat over my head and flops into the seat beside me. He's shivering, and I feel guilty about throwing his coat on the ground. He doesn't look at me as I pull my coat over my shoulders. I snatch his from the snow and shake it off until it's nearly clean.

We're both still too angry to speak. He's angry at himself, and my resolve is melting. I try to think of something to say, but nothing comes to mind. He's always the one that smoothes over these things, and that's when I see the corners of his lips turn up.

Tao's looking right at me. The snow is landing in his hair and blending into the white stripe. Whatever it is, he's serious. "Get a haircut. You look like a girl."

And that's what I hate the most about him. How he can make me forgive him in a second. I shove him hard, but he knows I'm not mad. We won't be able to laugh about this, but we both need to hang onto our scars. And so I say the line he's waiting to hear. "As soon as you get rid of that mushroom on your head."