Rapunzel's Ablutions: Red

"Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall in love with a gorgeous redhead!" - Lucille Ball

"I don't see why you're getting me to do this," Fakir grumbles.

" 'Cause Pique and Lillie always pull too hard, that's why," Ahiru answers. "Now help me separate it all."

Ahiru's long, peachy red hair fell like a curtain on her back, loosed from its customary braid. The summery locks had been thoroughly washed clean and were finally dry. At her insistence, Fakir was helping her braid it again.

"Have you thought about cutting it?" he suggests.

"No!" she immediately cries out, hugging the hair she was brushing possessively. "It's my hair!"

Fakir blinks at her back, not expecting such protest.

"It still will be, moron, but it'll be easier to take care of and you won't have to drag me into helping you."

Ahiru begins brushing her hair again and says, "You're not a girl so you just don't get it."

"Other girls wear their hair short," Fakir tells her with as much patience as he can muster.

"That's how they wanna do it. This's how I wanna do it."

He lets out a frustrated sigh and finally begins the task of helping her care for her ridiculously long hair. But as soon as his fingers actually take hold, he starts slightly. He had never really touched a girl's hair before, much less the hair of the girl he was somehow growing so fond of. He didn't know hair could be so fine, so soft. He never knew Ahiru's hair had any color to it besides just red. But here in his hand, he could see the shade changing in the light, almost like a sunset.

All of this happened in the span of a moment, maybe a breath or two.

"Have you ever thought of something besides a braid?" he asks, covering up his unexpected thoughts. "I don't know how to braid."

"It's real easy," she says. "You just take the one on the right and put it over the middle. Then that's the new middle and you take the one on the left over that. Then that's the new middle and you just keep on going like that."

"Suddenly it makes sense," he muses, successfully following her instructions. "You keep your hair in a braid because it's so simple even a duck knows how to do it."

Ahiru bolts forward at that with half a quack, undoing what little progress Fakir had made. Without thinking, he clutches her hair in his fingers.

"Owwww," she whines at the accidental tug.

"Stay still, moron, or I won't do this at all. Now hand over the brush."

She gives him the brush with a smack to his hand and he brushes out the tangled mess of his attempted braid.

"I still say you have too much hair," he murmurs, dropping the brush beside him with a clatter.

Ahiru opens her mouth to protest again only for the words to die on her lips. What comes out instead is a very soft gasp as Fakir's fingertips brush against her shoulders. He takes his time gathering up her hair, his hands lingering against her as he separates it and begins to braid once again. His fingertips lightly caress her neck as he works, moving lower so his touch trails down her spine.

By the time he's done, he can tell from the back of her ears that Ahiru is blushing as brilliantly red as her hair.

And Ahiru firmly decides that she will never cut her hair for as long as she lives.

Author's Notes: I'm back! Or rather, I never left but haven't been posting anything. I was working on these as well as a long-term project for the holidays.

Well, someone's got to braid all of that hair. If only life really was like a story and I could just get an insta-braid like Ahiru's every time she transforms back into a girl. This came to me easiest of all the prompts and I'm glad Fakiru Week's here so I can post it.