The Little Things Arc
Part Nine: Strands
by D.C. Logan
I brought my partner along on my travels today... I just hadn't noticed at first.
I'd been standing on the platform, waiting for the morning shuttle, when a sideways slant of light alerted me. A glisten of a red-gold thread, previously invisible against the tight weave of my wool coat caught my eye. I pulled at it slowly, carefully detaching it from the weave of the cloth and measuring it between the span of my hands. Then I held the strand to the light to watch the colors burn and fade along its impressive length, and tested the flexibility and strength of it before thoughtfully winding it ring-like about my finger. An older man in a suit standing to my right gave me a knowing wink and a nod. It wasn't the first time he'd seen me do this. He'd made a remark once, that I'd ignored, about being more careful about checking my clothes before going home. Heh, if he only knew.
It's as much a part of Duo as his right arm, his piloting skills, and the soft moaning noise he makes high up in his throat when he's exceptionally turned on. Yeah, that noise - and if you can prove to me that you've heard it, I'll have to kill you. There are some days when I see more of his hair than I do of him.
The long hairs he occasionally sheds from his braid merge seamlessly into our lives. He's accustomed to it, having endured it all his life; I'm still coming to terms with the occasional strands scattered about the apartment. I found one the other day that had embedded itself in the carpeting, only to surface when I walked across the rug in bare feet, grabbing at my toes and painfully winding about them and biting off the circulation.
It takes no time at all to clog the shower drain, and we call service up on a regular basis to unstop the thing. The super makes derogatory remarks about Duo's hair and our living arrangements, or at least he used to until the landlord clued him in to what we used to do for a living. Can't go around calling a Gundam Pilot a 'pervert' after all - he just might kill you. Now he just grumbles to himself and throws disgruntled glances our way as he enters and leaves on his monthly rounds.
Duo's hair makes the sleeping arrangements more interesting as well. He usually sleeps with it twisted into a knot and shifted over the top of his pillow, out of the way of the rest of his limbs. The problem is, it doesn't always stay where he puts it. Braided into a long rope, it's enough of a problem to cope with. Loose, it's an absolute terror. It puts a real damper on sex when your partner puts an elbow down wrong and painfully wrenches his head to the side with a yelp and genuine tears during a tender moment.
And just forget trying to disentangle yourself from it without any help; it takes a real concerted effort to separate ourselves come morning if he's left it untied at night. We woke one memorable dawn bound tightly together - nearly permanently. I'd had the dreams again, the ones I can't remember, but that make Duo watch me thoughtfully for days afterward. We'd awakened with our arms wrapped tightly around each other with long twists of his hair thoroughly binding us into a single unit. It took nearly ten minutes of careful maneuvering to separate ourselves. We had so much fun doing it, we intentionally tangled it up around us again and we both called off work that day.
Duo gripes about his hair from time to time, but never seriously. The only time I saw him consider cutting it was when he had his first ever migraine - and couldn't cope with the tension of the weight of his braid on his scalp. But when the medtech suggested the same, you could have frozen oxygen on the reply. Still, I listen to him cursing it as he towels off after a shower. Loose, it creeps and tangles around his privates (with sometimes painful consequences) and he always has an arm ready to sweep it to the side as he sits, as that can get interesting as well.
He never combs it scalp to ends, he starts at the bottom and slowly works his way up to the top before he can braid it. He's very careful with it; conditioning it carefully, just trimming the absolute ends once a month, blotting it dry instead of the rough toweling I give my own. The one person I saw that grabbed his braid before gaining permission needed stitches and hospital care. Yeah, he's that intense about it. I'm the only person who's permitted to touch it without asking, but I usually ask in public - as he has a nasty habit of striking first and asking 'who?' later.
I like it best when it's damp, just on the edge of not-dry. So it flows though my fingers, but still has a gentle resistance to it, like it doesn't want to leave the contact of my skin. He allows me to braid it for him sometimes, and unbraid it - separating it into its three strands, and then finger combing into a riotous mass of kinked stands, twice its normal volume.
And yeah, let's face it, it's erotic as all hell. Especially on Duo. It still surprises me to watch mister tough-as-nails ex-terrorist and ex-Gundam pilot turn all warm, sensual, and playful on me. He's captured me with his hair more than once, looping his braid around my wrist, his loose hair over my arm - and will tease me by dusting the end of his braid across the exposed skin at the back of my neck. I should never have admitted to him how turned on that makes me; he does it all the time now, usually with predictable results.
He doesn't bother to braid it if we're just staying around the apartment for the day. He just gathers it up while it's still damp and ties a half knot into it about midway down its impressive length. He says that keeps it out of the way without going into the bother of braiding it. It's not a way I'm accustomed to looking at him, and it took a while for me to get used to it. But I like his casual style and grace. Like a professional model that doesn't wear makeup or dress to impress on days off, it is an instant dress down to casual time spent quietly together - the times I like best.
It's the one thing that's his, that never left him, never abandoned him, and I love it because it's a part of who he is. In more ways than the obvious and small ones, it binds us together.