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What are friends for?

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Yukako admired the dress in the window, imagining how she would look in it at the beach. If she waited one more week, she’d have enough money saved up for it. She went to turn, but a reflection in the window caught her attention. Someone was opposite her on the street, their hair tucked up in a hat, large sunglasses covering their eyes, loose-fitting clothing, large backpack and a nervousness about them that had her on edge. They’d all been warned by Jouko about the dangers of the arrow and stand users, despite Josuko’s repeated cries that she could handle herself. She watched them cross the road in the reflection, and readied herself to strike. Once they were in her range she quickly pivoted, activating Love Deluxe to grab her attacker's hand, but her stand was suddenly grabbed by a familiar pink and blue hand.

 

“Josuko?”

 

Josuko quickly covered Yukako’s mouth, looking around nervously and chewing on her bottom lip.

 

“Not too loud.”

 

“What are you doing here? Looking like that?!”

 

Josuko grabbed her hand and quickly marched her over to a nearby alleyway, still nervously looking around. Once they were out of anyone’s earshot,she turned around and let out a small sigh.

 

“I need your help, desperately.”

 

She reached into her pocket, and pulled out a piece of purple plastic. Yukako raised her eyebrow questioningly, her arms starting to fold.

 

“What is that, exactly?”

 

“It’s… It’s the bottom half of my comb… it broke.”

 

“Where’s the rest of it?”

 

Josuko nervously lifted her hat, showing the wild tangle that was her hair, a broken comb lodged in it. Yukako gasped, and quickly pulled the hat back down before grabbing her hand and marching Josuko towards her home.

 

“You are going to tell me exactly how you did that!”

 

“I was with my niece Jouko yesterday after school, helping her take samples down in the bay. I fell in the water a few times so my hair got pretty wet. Since I was out so long, i didn’t get a chance to shower last night to get the salt off, and I ended up waking up with my hair like this. I tried desperately to brush it, but instead, the comb broke! I don’t have any  weekly money left, and dad's away until tomorrow!”

 

Yukako gave a short nod, almost knocking her down due to their breakneck pace.

 

“You came to the right person, though I wonder how you knew where I was…”

 

“Koichi told me that you usually spend sunday mornings on your own looking at clothes. I'd actually been looking for you for fifteen minutes!”

 

Yukako practically threw the door open, bundling Josuko inside. She'd have to let her parents know that they had a guest, and to leave them both alone, but a single note left on the kitchen table quickly told her not to bother.

 

“Head upstairs third room on your right, sit down on the stool. Oh, and make sure to take that thing off your head, it looks horrid.

 

Josuko frowned, crossing her arms as she replied sarcastically.

 

“Well thank you Yukako, your loving words mean so much to me.”

 

She went up the stairs, Yukako following just behind her, but instead of following Josuko into her bedroom, she quickly dived into the connecting bathroom. She peered down at the collection of hair care products she had, and carefully selected each item. She walked into her room carefully, balancing the items cautiously, until she saw Josuko’s hair. The clattering of products accompanied the loud gasp as Yukako spied the rats’ nest that was Josuko’s hair, the purple comb stuck in it.

 

“It’s ok...we… We can fix this.”

 

Yukako walked over, bending down to pick up her best brush. She carefully pulled the comb out, managing to not pull any hair out as she did. Spurred on by this, she slowly sectioned out some of her hair, and carefully began to brush the knots out. It was slow, but she hadn't made Josuko flinch, so she pushed forward, sectioning more hair off.

 

It had taken about an hour, but finally, the comb running through Josuko’s long hair with perfect ease. Both of them were wearing wide grins.

 

“Thank you SO much for this Yukako! I can’t believe you managed to untangle it all!”

 

“We’re not done yet, you’ll need to wash your hair.”

 

“Wa..wait? You’re… you’re going to style it?”

 

Josuko had suddenly become nervous, her voice quivering and her lower lips held between her teeth. Yukako kept a steely glare in the mirror, meeting Josuko’s eyes.

 

“I need to practise, I like doing hair and I’ve never really had anyone willing to let me try before.”

 

“You want to try on me?!”

 

“You’ve got spare clothes with you, and we’re near the Morioh Grand Hotel. You were just going to run over to Jouko’s room and shower there, so why not here?”

 

Josuko began to pout, and Yukako smirked. Josuko may have tried to keep her secrets, but a tiny amount of time around her, and anyone could learn to read her; anyone but Okuyasu that was. Yukako turned, heading back to the bathroom to collect a towel. Josuko followed her, bag in hand.

 

“Thank you for this Yukako, I really mean it!”

 

“I know you do, once you’ve dried off come join me, and I’ll try to get it styled.”

 

Yukako walked back into her room, starting to pick up her supplies. She heard the shower turncome on, but focussed on picking her products up, and getting her hairdresser set up. It wasn’t long until Josuko returned, her hair towel dried and ready to be styled. She sat down on the stool again, and Yukako gave her no time to object, hairdryer and round brush in hand. A few minutes of styling while drying, and it was ready. Yukako gently placed the hairdryer down, and picked up the pot of clay, taking a large scoop into her hands. She rubbed them together, warming the clay before slowly running her hands through the growing pompadour. She could see Josuko tensing up, but she ignored it, Love Deluxe ready to restrain her if needed. A small amount of care, and a little more styling later, Yukako stepped back, smiling wryly.

 

“So, what do you think?”

 

Josuko’s jaw dropped, the pomp was just like her own, but the long locks were framing her face better than it ever had.

 

“Yukako… oh wow… It’s beautiful! How can I ever repay you?!”

 

“No need,. What are friends for?”

 

Josuko jumped up and pulled Yukako into a hug, practically crushing her. Josuko was stronger then she looked.

 

“I swear next time we’re at Duex Magots together, pudding is on me!”


Yukako couldn’t help but smile back at the wide and infectious grin the Josuko had. Friends, I like that idea.