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Bad hair day

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"Don't laugh" 

It's borderline childish, acting like this. 

You and her both know it, especially since you had come to her, a garishly bright beanie pulled low over your forehead - effectively defeating the purpose of being inconspicuous. 

It had taken Moira 5 minutes to coax it off you, her own interest piqued by the late-night ‘emergency’ which supposedly couldn’t wait until the morning.

Admittedly, you’re a welcome distraction from the cold, indifferent emptiness of her quarters; Moira’s used to coming 'home' to nothing, thrives (both professionally and personally) when she's alone, even excels at Solitaire. But, no (wo)man is an island, and there's only so much she can gain from hobbies & pastimes before she starts to dread leaving the lab, throwing herself more and more into her work until her eyes turn bloodshot and she’s too tired to care that there’s no-one by her side.

So, Moira sighs, rolls her eyes in jest, and promises that she won’t laugh, leaning in close to whisper "it's just me" in that lilting, crisp accent of hers - her ice-like, cyanotic hand closing around your own.

Gently, and slowly enough to soothe a spooked deer, she pries off the hand which had flown up reflexively to cover your hair and deadpans “This has got to be the dumbest thing you’ve ever done” with a low whistle, brows raising in resigned mirth.

Her unobscured, cerulean eye stays trained on your hairline yet, true to her word, she doesn’t - outwardly - laugh. Instead, her now free hand comes to rest on your calf, bare from where your sweats had ridden up as you’d tucked them underneath your thighs.

You shiver.

“Dumber than when I-- ow!

Pulling back from her touch with a yelp, you force a glare that you don’t really mean and try and fail to flatten the tuft of hair Moira’d managed to pick free faster than you could register from the stiff, glue-clogged first few inches of coarse hair along your hairline.

“I’ve tried wetting it with warm water, but that’s done fuck-all” she laughs, hand rising further up your leg, thumb stroking idly beneath your knee as you go on “and I don’t have 99% alcohol or acetone, whatever the fuck that is, on hand”

"Acetone?"

There's a spark of recognition in her voice, and she gets this far-off Look™ in her eyes and - of course - you should have known she'd have some lying around, the brilliant scientist that she is. 

Pulling you up by the hand, she leads you further than you've ever been through the depths of her quarters, past vibrant, thought-evoking, art pieces and various accolades to the bathroom where you take a seat on the lip of the tub, the ceramic cool to the touch, and watch as she rummages through the cabinet above the sink, mumbling to herself all the while.

The room, somewhat surprisingly, is much the same as yours; modestly tiled, vaguely 'clinic-y' (it's the lights, they almost hurt to look at) & is overall unremarkable, impersonal even. You spy just one toothbrush by the sink, perhaps just one of many things you and Dr. O'Deorain have in common. 

But, before your thoughts can stray too far, she turns with a triumphant " aha ", proudly brandishing an opaque looking bottle of run-of-the-mill nail polish in one hand and an almost empty tube of cotton pads in the other. 

You'd expected it to be some sort of complex-looking, colourful, bubbling elixir, not something vaguely blue tinted and smelling of Sharpies, but you give her the benefit of the doubt with nary a wary look as she tilts your chin up so that your eyes meet and steps forward, coming to a standstill between your spread thighs. 

Looking away first, she tips the bottle over at an angle until the pad is sufficiently damp before she begins, first dabbing at the glue then rubbing as best and as gently as she can. 

It's quiet enough to hear a pin drop, but you're used to the relative silence, so unintentionally begin studying her face to keep yourself occupied - attention flitting in quiet adoration across the sharp contours of the apples of her cheeks, the jaunty slope of her nose, the stray hairs that frame her (perfect) face the only sign that she's at leisure… Well, that and her ever so slightly unbuttoned blouse. 

Moira clears her throat as she shifts closer, and the noise you make (and subsequently cover up as just a cough, gaze fixing firmly on the tiled wall behind her) fills her head with several delightfully wicked ideas that she stashes away for later, mismatched eyes glinting conspiratorially as the charged moment passes. 

"This might take a while"

The smile on her face is minuscule, nothing more than a slight upturn of the lips really, but it's there and is the only indication you need to know that you're not as smooth as you think you are. 

In any event, she's right - the glue must be firmly bonded, because it's slow going, and 20 minutes must pass before you start to feel it come loose in earnest. 

"Well, I'm in your hands" Literally. 

*

"Thank you" 

It's the first you've spoken in said 20 minutes, grateful that of all the things she could be doing with her time (namely: sleeping) she'd chosen to spend it with you - albeit not under the best of circumstances. 

She slows momentarily, shoulders inching up ever so slightly in what you think is a shrug, and promptly pulls a face at the purple varnish blanching on her nails, before tossing the sticky cotton pad into the bin without looking (she lands it, of course - you're impressed) and swapping it out for a fresh one. 

"Sometimes, I think you get into these situations just to have a reason to see me" 

A beat passes, and you feel your mouth run dry as you scramble for something to say, rolling your neck a little to both buy yourself some time and alleviate the crick you can feel forming. 

When you'd first started getting closer, it had come as a surprise that the concept of non-dry humour wasn't completely alien to her, especially beneath her usually glacial exterior, and so it takes a second or two of blank, & probably incriminating, staring on your part until it clicks that she's just joking, that it's probably just her go-to "come here often?" shtick.

Cute. 

Despite this, you still limit your response to a simple smile and shake of the head, not quite trusting yourself to come up with a quip that won't sound utterly… pathetic as you look down. 

There's glue on the tips of your fingers, a thin sheen that makes them glisten in the light. It's stronger than PVA, but just as satisfying to pick at, and so you do, gaze still trained on the red dot of tile that interrupts the uniform, ivory-white squares behind her as you try not to think about just how close she is, or how good Moira smells as she finishes up.