Disclaimer: I don't own YYH or the characters
I just wanted to thank all my reviewers. I've already sent review responses out, but for guest reviewers I can't, so I need to send them a quick thank you here. Your reviews mean a lot to me too.
Hiei took to accompanying Shizuru more often to her job, so much so that her co-workers kept making jokes about him being her boyfriend. The remarks were shrugged off by the two, especially since the other stylists seemed to leave much earlier than them and left them in comfortable silence.
Shizuru always stayed later than the others, offering to close up for extra cash as well as accepting the occasional walk-ins so that she could make extra money. Of course, that was how Kurama found out about their current living arrangements. One day he came in after closing so that he could both check on Shizuru as he had promised Kuwabara, but also to get his hair trimmed. Hiei happened to be there and Kurama had just stared blankly at the stoic fire demon before doing a double take. After that, Hiei's living arrangements were discovered, and as usual the fire demon didn't mind threatening his longtime friend.
Kurama, as expected, agreed to keep the living arrangements a secret and was secretly happy about Hiei's presence in the Kuwabara household. At least he knew that Shizuru was safe while her brother was away and could honestly tell the red-haired teen that she was protected. Shizuru didn't know why Kurama visited the salon as much as he did, but now Hiei had picked up on the fox demon's thoughts and rolled his eyes. But then he briefly realized that Kuwabara was trying to keep tabs on his older sister like he did for his younger sister. A briefly feeling of respect passed over the fire demon, but he shook it off. Kuwabara was still an incompetent fool and that would never change in his mind.
After that, Hiei continued to accompany Shizuru to her job to watch over her, but also to study Human World more closely. He had lived in trees in parks and been in Yusuke's town all of once to deliver a video tape, but he was never in the city long enough to inspect its features, and if he had been it was usually for a battle and not for leisure. He found himself admiring the architecture at times before remembering that he could blast all these buildings, and each and every one would fall. It was a good thing that there was peace between the three worlds or Human World's destruction would be assured.
"Well, I'm done for the day," Shizuru stated after inspecting everyone's station. She and Hiei were the only two in the salon and it was raining outside. "I was hoping the rain would stop."
"Me too," Hiei admitted. He absolutely hated the rain. Being caught in storms usually resulted in his strength temporarily leaving him as well as the Dragon's protest. Shizuru had taken a long time to clean up just so they could try to wait out the storm, but it was not letting up.
Shizuru sighed and ran her fingers through her hair. "You know," she mused, "I could keep us hear a little longer. Why don't you let me cut your hair? It's grown quite a bit since you've been here."
"Why the hell would I let you near me with sharp objects?" he spat out. "Besides, I cut my own hair using my katana." Shizuru laughed at that. "What's so funny?"
"Nothing," she tried to say, "but that explains why your hair is so spiky."
"Hn," Hiei muttered. "My hair is fine."
"No doubt," Shizuru let up, "but I can trim it to make it grown better and healthier. What do you say? You see me cutting hair all the time now. Have I ever once hurt my clients?"
"…No," Hiei said with reluctance.
He wanted to trust her; he really did, but this would be agreeing to let his guard down too much and he did not like that. It didn't seem like a big deal when he watched other humans and even Kurama getting their hair washed, cut, and dried with that incredibly loud machine. There really wasn't anything to lose if he agreed, though, and most likely the rain would stop long enough for them to get home.
Home, Hiei mused. He had truly come to see her place as his home, and he didn't know why. It was a poorly crafted, human-designed building and it held nothing for him. The only conclusion he could draw was that she made it feel like home, and he had no idea how she did it.
So if his home was with her, then maybe his trust should be with her as well? It seemed like such a strange concept to him, but at the same time he could accept it. "Well?" Shizuru tried again.
"Fine," Hiei responded, though his voice was softer. She stared at him strangely for a moment. If she didn't know any better, she'd say something shifted in Hiei's mind but she would never be able to figure out what it was. Instead on thinking long and hard on it, and possibly complicating things, she led him to the sinks where she would wash his hair. No, she didn't want to complicate things, as both their lives were complicated enough. She'd rather just keep in simple, and what was simpler than washing and cutting the fire demon's hair?
His hair was surprisingly soft to the touch having a sort of feathery quality to it. She added some shampoo infused with conditioner to her hands and began running her fingers through his hair gently scraping at his scalp.
Hiei's senses were on overload, though Shizuru probably couldn't tell. Hiei rarely washed his hair, even when he showered, so he didn't expect such feelings. The warm water was soothing, her touch both relaxing and exciting, like he didn't know what she'd do next as she carefully tugged on his hair without pulling. Just as soon as these feelings had started, they had left him as Shizuru finished rinsing the products from his hair. He took a sniff of the air and realized even those smelled nice to his sensitive nose.
Shizuru walked over to one of the spinning chairs and turned it to signal him to sit. Hiei was wary, not wanting to lose the pleasant sensations he had felt. He didn't even really know what it was that she did to make him feel this way, and he definitely didn't want to say anything and appear weak, but, it was…comforting. He had never felt such a thing before other than Mukuro in the very few instances she offered comfort. All Hiei could wonder was if there was a way to make her do it again.
Hiei slowly joined her by the chair and sat down to be spun around facing the mirror. Shizuru was standing in front of him, close to him, and Hiei felt his heart race. He wasn't surprised since she always got this close to her other clients, but again her hands were in his hair and she was looking at him so intensely. What he didn't understand was that she was looking at his hair trying to find split ends or frayed edges.
"I don't have to take much off," she told him. "I'll be done before you know it."
Hiei didn't know whether or not he wanted her to be done, but he dumbly nodded in response. He watched her using the mirror as she began trimming being careful not to mess with the spikiness of his hair. She was right when she said it wouldn't take long as she was done only minutes later. Placing the scissors down, she moved to get the blow-dryer; but Hiei stopped her gently grabbing her, gently grabbing her wrist.
"No," he told her, "it's too loud."
"Okay," she replied blandly before running her hands through his hair once more to make sure everything was even. What shocked her was that Hiei's eyes fluttered shut and he looked completely at ease and relaxed. Deciding to test the waters, she used her fingers to scratch his scalp. He nearly threw his head back at the contact, peeking his eyes open to look at her. Shizuru just blinked at him, but then nudged her head to one of the couches they had in the waiting area. He didn't respond, but simply followed her.
Shizuru sat them both down and continued running her fingers through his hair. She couldn't believe how calm he was, especially with the fact that she was touching him. That should have been another red flag to her. Hiei, from past encounters, was a violent fire demon, and here he was acting like cute puppy. She had to fight a chuckle at the thought. But this was disconcerting, especially when he looked up at her with questioning, crimson eyes.
"Are you all right?" she asked him quietly. He answered with a nod. She stopped stroking his hair and removed her hand. "What's going on with you?"
"I don't know," he answered honestly. "I…I've never felt anything like that before."
"What? You mean the haircut? I kind of figured."
"No," he cut her off, "that feeling…comfort?" He didn't know another way to describe it but, when he said the word, Shizuru's face fell and she looked very unhappy. He knew it had to be disgust, so he made the attempt to get up and away from her, but she stopped him.
He looked to her questioningly, not sure of what she was doing, but both panicked and relaxed when she pulled him in for a hug. Shizuru couldn't help but shake her head, though. She had no idea how Yukina could be raised to be so happy while at the same time Hiei was raised in conditions where he had no home and received no comfort. It was common knowledge, for those who knew that they were siblings, that they were not raised together. Part of Shizuru wished she knew more about him but, until he said anything, she wouldn't know.
Hiei had rarely received hugs in his life. Like the last time he had been hugged, he just sat their limp. He didn't know how to react to her gesture, but he could at least admit that he didn't mind it so much.
"Hey," Shizuru said softly, "the rain stopped." Hiei pulled away from her to look outside. It still looked stormy, so they only had a limited time to get home. "Let's go home, Hiei, and then we'll order some takeout or something. How does that sound?"
"Good," he answered, his voice still soft from everything that had happened over the last twenty minutes. Right now he really did just want to go home, a home with Shizuru who just provided him with more comfort than he had received his entire life.