Pull and brush… gently now. Another tight patch of weave. It comes loose after just a moment of care from his nimble, skilled fingers.
Kojaku was in awe. Taking out dreads shouldn’t be this easy. It was never this easy.
In defiance of the tight styling, Mink’s hair came loose easily under Kojaku’s attentive hands, with hardly any knots forming as he released the dark russet strands from their bindings. And they weren’t even kinked! As Kojaku removed the dreads, Mink’s hair was only slightly wavy. There was no dry brittleness or split ends. It was perfect.
"You’re staring again." the low voice rumbled from the barber’s chair. Head snapping up, Kojaku’s eyes met Mink’s gaze in the styling mirror in front of the chair. The older man’s eyes were no less intimidating, even in reflection, though they were crinkled slightly at the corners, almost in amusement. Kojaku huffed, turning his attention back to the dreads in his hands.
The stylist and rib team leader had certainly not expected the infamous Scratch leader to be the type to take such good care of his hair. He seemed like the type who wouldn’t give a shit about things like moisturizers and follicle treatments, but he obviously used both. And fuck. How did he get his hair to smell like that? He must use some crazy hair products or some shit. Even with all the water Kojaku was using to moisten and loosen the dreads, the smell remained just as poignant. Cinnamon. It was all Kojaku could do to resist burying his face in the soft strands and inhaling that wonderful aroma. Even though he would probably get his face punched in were he to do so.
"Like what you see, Red?" That asshole was smirking now, exhaling white plumes of smoke after taking a draw on his pipe. Kojaku hadn’t noticed that his hands had paused again. Well, he wasn’t going to give the older man the satisfaction of seeing him react.
"Why’d you show up out of the blue like that, anyways?" After the Oval Tower’s fall, Mink had just vanished off the face of the earth. Kojaku had been fine in assuming that the man was dead. That is, until he just waltzed into his shop like he owned the place, practically ordering Kojaku to turn away his other customers and work on his hair. And so, here they were. Alone in the shop. Koujaku’s usual crowd of beautiful ladies and hangers-on having been kicked out. And Kojaku wanted answers.
"I wanted a change. And I hear you’re not half bad at this sort of thing." Again that smugness.
"Glad to hear my reputation precedes itself." Kojaku’s response was dripping with sarcasm, but his mind was churning. A change… The other man certainly had changed. Fundamentally he was still the same, a seemingly emotionless brick wall of a man who never failed to get on Kojaku’s nerves. But there was something… something different.
It was almost like spring after a long winter… No. That wasn’t quite right. It was like the first new shoots growing from the rotting corpse of a great oak. A strength so great, gone into decay by virtue of it’s sheer magnitude. A place of death, where all life should have left… But there was just the smallest hints of something new stirring from within.
Damn it. He had stopped moving again.
"Why don’t I take you for a drink after this is done, Red."
Kojaku would have certainly turned him down before. But. This Mink was different. And besides, hair care said a lot about a guy. How could he not give a second chance to a guy with hair this fine?