It was just hair.

She stared at herself in the mirror, looking at the hair that tumbled just below her shoulders, trying to convince herself that it was true.

She'd always loved her hair. Maybe she hadn't always treated it the best, what with all the straightening and the dyeing, but she always had a fondness for her hair. She liked it long. When she was little, her mother used to run her fingers through her hair when they would lie on the couch. She and her friends used to practice braiding on each others hair. And he used to like to -


This was not about him.

He was gone. He left.

Who cares about him?

It was about her.

She couldn't be who she needed to be with her hair like this.

A Detective.

That's what she's wanted. It's what she's been working so hard for.

And really… it's just hair.

No, it was more than hair.

It was a weakness.

It was a liability.

And Offic- Detective Beckett could not afford to be a liability to her team.

She'd already worked so hard for everything she's gotten, and she's earned it just like every other male detective in that precinct, hell, in the entire damn city and she wasn't going to let them take that from her. She was tired of the teasing when she arrived after the others at a crime scene because she was the last on the call list but no, it was "what Beckett, were you having a bad hair day?;" "Couldn't find the right shoes to go with that top?;" "Did you run out of lipstick this morning?"

Hell no.

She usually wore her hair up and it wasn't an issue. It wasn't that long to start with. But the one day she wore it down was the one day they ran into a hostile suspect. And it was the one suspect who grabbed onto her hair and yanked her down onto the floor with him when he panicked and tried to run away, dislocating her shoulder and giving her a mild concussion.

She was out of the field for a week.

Her hair was a goddamn vulnerability.

Really, come on, it's just hair.

It shouldn't be an issue.

She didn't want to cut it.

But she just couldn't be Detective Beckett if she had to worry about keeping her hair back in a bun at a crime scene, or when they went to interview a suspect. She couldn't be worried about bobby pins and hairspray.

She needed to be a professional.

She couldn't be worried about what people thought of her, or how she'd gotten her job.

She needed people to take her seriously.

Kate had long hair.

Detective Beckett couldn't.

And she couldn't be both, could she? She didn't have time for Kate. Not when she needed to solve her mother's case. Not when she was trying to make Senior Detective. And she was so close she could almost taste it.

She fingered her long locks, she ran a finger over the soft strand, silently mourning the loss.

She rolled her eyes at herself, huffing as her fingers falling away from the strand and into her lap.

It wasn't a loss, she reminded herself.

If this is what it took to get her coworkers to take her seriously, than it wasn't a loss at all.

It was a necessity.

"So, dear, did you decide on what you want?"

She refocused her gaze on the stylist in the mirror as the woman snapped the drape around her neck, pulling her hair out from underneath and over her shoulders so Kate could explain what she wanted.

Kate closed her eyes for a moment, inhaling steadily before she nodded once.

"Yeah," she whispered.

It was only hair.

She cleared her throat, making her voice as strong as she could.

Detective Beckett wouldn't whisper.

"Cut it all off."

(to everyone who says they have never seen Mulan, it is my all time favorite movie and I'm giving you homework: [http: (slashslash) put locker .com (slash) file (slash) 2YWO583K62GW0GOW#] )

(also the last time I wrote a hair story I had a handful of people tell me they couldn't take me seriously. lol. we'll see...)