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Of Dyeing and Dying

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Heather stared at the box of dye in her hands, turning it this way and that. She stared at it like it held the secrets of the universe, or at least the answer to whether or not she should go through with her idea. The loud creak of the door opening startled Heather, and the box fell out of her hands.

“Oh! I'm sorry,” Fiona said, stepping fully into the bathroom, “I didn't mean to startle you.” She shifted her weight from foot to foot, hands behind her back, looking like a child about to be scolded.

Heather blew out a breath, making her fringe fly up out of her face. “It's fine,” she said, getting up from her seat on the toilet. She reached behind Fiona to grab her hands and bring them to her sides, then gave her a quick kiss. And then a longer one. And then Heather gave up on keeping Fiona's hands at her sides and gently grabbed her face, kissing her deeply. God, Fiona was so soft. Her lips, her face, her large tracts of land. Heather could seriously lose herself in kissing Fiona (and she had, several times). But as much as she'd like to kiss Fiona until the sun collapsed in on itself and all life was extinguished, there was the box of dye to deal with. She broke the kiss softly, drawing back from Fiona just far enough to take in her dilated eyes, her flushed face, her lovestruck smile. Heather found herself mirroring the smile (it was the first time she'd smiled all day). “Hey,” she said, bumping her nose against Fiona's before finally stepping out of her personal space bubble.

“Hello,” Fiona said breathily. She licked her lips and cleared her throat, and in a more normal voice asked, “So, what did you want me to do?”

Heather snorted. “There's a lot that I want you to do,” she said, wiggling her eyebrows at Fiona, reveling in her blushing face, “But let's start with this.” She turned on her heel and bent down, making sure to give Fiona a good view of her “assets”, picking up the box of dye from the floor. She placed it in Fiona's hands, letting her examine the box.

"You want to dye your hair?” Fiona asked, looking puzzled.

“I want you to dye my hair,” Heather said. She gestured over to the counter, where tubs and combs and brushes and gloves lay scattered about, some covered in a blue paste. “I already took care of the bleaching, 'cause I love you and all but bleach is nasty. So all you gotta do is the color. If you want,” she hurriedly added, “No pressure or whatever.” She shoved her hands in her pockets, trying to resist the urge to take it all back and on second thought Heather could just do it herself sorry for calling her out here but hey Heather heard of this cool new restaurant that let dogs in maybe they could just go to dinner or something–Fiona's voice pierced through her mind.

“I'd like to,” she said, smiling brightly. Heather let out a slow breath. “Ah, but,” Fiona added, ducking her head in embarrassment, “You'll have to walk me through it. I've never dyed hair before.”

Heather nodded mechanically. “Yeah, 'course,” she said automatically. “Uh, could you go grab one of the kitchen chairs please? I don't think we can really do this with me sitting on the toilet.”

“Sure, I'll be right back.” Fiona set the dye on the counter and left the bathroom. Heather could faintly hear her talking to Hewie, and Hewie's responding barks, but she had more important things to focus on. Namely, her slowly growing panic over actually going through with this. She had enough trouble the first time she bleached her hair on her own. Only the thought of what Douglas would say if she went back on her “blondes have more fun” thing kept her from chucking the bleach in the garbage. It had gotten easier over time (she barely shook when she applied it this morning), but having Fiona do it? Heather inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly. She loved Fiona. More importantly, she trusted Fiona. This probably would've happened anyways, eventually. At some point she would've gotten a girlfriend and then she'd be the one to help Heather with her hair, instead of her dad. This could've been a bittersweet memory moment, instead of a panic attack waiting to happen. But whatever, her life was what it was and no amount of wishing or what ifs would change that (no matter how much she wanted them to).

Fiona walked back into the bathroom, the rickety wooden chair in her hands. She set it down on the floor, and while she grabbed the box of dye Heather sat and draped a towel around her shoulders. “Okay, so,” Heather said, “The box has most of the instructions and shit on it. I'll like, part my hair so you don't have to worry about that. You should also probably grab some gloves so you don't get dye all over your hands.” Fiona nodded seriously, grabbing a pair of disposable gloves from the box on the counter as Heather reached for a comb and some hairclips. The two did their own tasks, Fiona opening the box of dye and squeezing it into a little bowl, Heather methodically parting her hair and clipping it into place. They were silent, but the comfortable kind, when two people are close enough that no words are needed to fill in the gaps.

The first one to break the silence was Fiona. “So, what should I do now?” she asked, bowl of dye in her hands.

Heather steeled herself. No going back now. “Grab the brush-looking thing and dip it in the dye. Then just, paint my hair with it. As long as you get it all and do it evenly, it'll be fine.” She smirked up at Fiona. “I'm sure an artsy-fartsy type like you can manage.”

Fiona sighed in relief. “Oh good. I was worried that it'd be something really complex and I'd mess it up. But I'm sure I can handle painting your hair.” She grabbed the brush, dipped it in the dye, and brought it up to Heather's hair.

“Yeah, well, you'll also have to entertain me while the dye's setting, and help me wash it out,” Heather said, leaning back against the chair and closing her eyes. Banter was good. Banter was distracting.

“Entertaining you will be even easier,” Fiona said. Heather could practically hear the smile in her voice. “So many possibilities, though. I'll have to think about how exactly to distract you.”

Heather grinned. What a set up. “I can think of plenty ways for you to...distract me.” Her voice was suggestive, and the pause deliberate. Fiona's hands stilled for a moment, and Heather opened one eye to catch her face turn red.

“Yes, well, I don't think those kinds of...distractions would be good for keeping the dye in your hair,” Fiona said. Heather smirked. After a few seconds of silence, Fiona added, “Of course, that won't be a problem once we've rinsed your hair,” and then it was Heather's turn to blush. Fiona giggled at her reaction, and Heather huffed in mock indignation. Afterwards, they fell into another silence, though this was one Heather felt the urge to break. Not because she was uncomfortable with Fiona, god no, it was just the situation making her wanna crawl out of her skin. But, she was comfortable with Fiona, so that's what she should focus on.

“Hey,” Heather said, her voice cracking slightly. She winced internally at the discomfort clear in her voice, but pushed on anyways. “Could you, I dunno, sing something for me? Please?” Something, anything, to distract Heather from what Fiona was doing. And, well, focusing on Fiona herself and her gorgeous voice would be just about the most welcome distraction.

Fiona's hands slowed slightly, and Heather could practically see her face, puzzled and slightly concerned. Whenever she got that look her face would scrunch up a bit and she'd crinkle her nose and it was so adorable Heather always found herself leaning in for a kiss. “If you want me to,” Fiona said hesitantly, as if waiting for Heather to take it back. “Any song in particular?”

“Whatever you wanna sing.” Heather could feel panic bubbling in her chest, molten and shivering and oh god Fiona could sing the Space Jam theme for all she cared just something to take her mind off the feeling of hands gently applying hair dye (a feeling she hadn't known in years).

It was not the Space Jam theme. Heather didn't recognize the song, but it was soft and lilting and just so Fiona that Heather felt herself finally relax. And so the time passed, Fiona singing and applying hair dye, and Heather breathing easy and smiling genuinely. “God, I love your voice,” she said reverently. “Thank you.”

Abruptly stopping her singing, Fiona said softly, “Of course.” Instead of picking back up in the song, however, she said, “I think that's enough dye. What now?”

Heather stood up and stretched her arms up high. “Now,” she said, “We wait for half an hour. Wanna watch that fashion show?” Fiona smiled, nodded, and grabbed Heather's hand. They left the bathroom to collapse on the couch (at least, Heather did, Fiona stopped to give Hewie some affection). Heather sprawled out on her side, propping her head up with her hand to keep from getting dye on the couch. It had enough stains already, honestly. Fiona lifted up Heather's feet enough to sit down, and Hewie plopped himself at Fiona's feet like the good boy he was. They watched an episode of Project Runway, where Heather mocked the cattiness of the contestants and Fiona commented on the fantastic (and not so fantastic) couture. Once the episode was over (“Anton's dress was clearly better, though!” “I guess, but he's a dick so who cares”), the two of them went back to the bathroom to rinse the dye out of Heather's hair.

After turning on the water and testing the temperature (“It's gotta be cold”), Fiona asked, “Why did you want me to dye your hair? You already bleached it by yourself, wouldn't it have been easier to just do it all at once?”

Heather, who had been sitting on the counter swinging her legs, stopped abruptly. Her hands clenched the counter so tightly she was almost afraid it would break. Fiona noticed (of course she did) and hurriedly, panickedly, added, “Oh, you don't have to tell me if you don't want to! I was just curious, it's really alright!” Heather leaned over and put her hand over Fiona's. She gave it a little reassuring pat before leaning back.

“It's fine,” Heather said monotonously. “It's whatever, it's just,” she shrugged, “My dad was the first one to dye my hair, y'know?” Fiona gasped, a sudden, almost silent gasp. “I mean, I was like five, I sure as hell couldn't've done it.” Heather focused on the wall, the discolored spot from when she wanted to see if she could make a hairspray flamethrower. She could. “So he had to do it. Every time my roots came in he'd dye my hair again. And even when I got old enough to do it myself, he'd still do it. Sort of a, father-daughter bonding thing, yanno?” Her voice cracked on that last word, and she could feel her eyes tearing up. “It was only a few weeks after Silent Hill that I had to dye it again and,” she couldn't finish that sentence. She couldn't explain the hours she took just staring at the tub of bleach, how she tried to attribute her tears to the stinging of bleach on her scalp (it had never bothered her before, not even the first time). “You're the only other person that I've had dye my hair,” she finished, voice thick with sadness and tears running down her face. She finally looked at Fiona, Fiona who was looking back, sad and knowing and touched and grateful all at once.

Fiona kissed Heather's forehead, her bangs still held up by clips. “I love you too,” Fiona said, teary-eyed and smiling tremulously. She caressed Heather's cheek, and Heather leaned into the touch. “Let's wash the dye out now,” she said softly, gently tugging on Heather's hips to get her to slide off the counter. Heather did, pliant and boneless, and let Fiona maneuver her over the sink. The water was cold and refreshing over her head, and it might feel like a cleansing of the soul if Heather was into spiritual shit like that. As it was, it just felt nice on her red, puffy eyes. Fiona started singing again, tender like a lullaby, and that combined with the sound of running water in her ears was more soothing than any of the white noise CDs Heather bought to try and sleep. But all too soon Fiona turned the water off and draped a towel over Heather's head, rubbing her hair dry while keeping her from seeing the final product. “Oh,” Fiona said breathlessly, hushed and awed. She finally took the towel away, and Heather looked up and into the mirror. Her hair was wild and mussed, like bedhead from hell, but Heather still found herself grinning. The bright pink felt like a new beginning, something she shared with Fiona only. She liked it.