"My life is over!"
Still wearing only his briefs, Kira fell heavily onto the toilet seat, moaning into the hands he held over his face. It was clear that he fully believed his own melodramatic pronouncement.
Athrun, in direct contrast, was feeling quite pleased with himself. In fact, he thought, as he pulled a black turtleneck sweater over his head, this was the most relaxed and happy he had felt in a long time.
"Don't you think you're overreacting a bit?" he mused, regarding Kira's forlorn figure in the posh hotel mirror.
Athrun saw Kira jerk his head up. The inverted image hid nothing of the fury on his face. "Overreacting?!" he screamed. "How could you say that after what you did to me?"
Athrun pulled his trapped hair from the neckline of his sweater and shook it out. "I recall you agreeing to the idea."
"I did not."
Athrun turned and grinned at his best friend. "I distinctly heard you say 'okay' before we started."
"'Okay' is not 'Yes'."
"Hm, well, during the fact, I recall you saying something along the lines of, 'Yes, Athrun, harder, that feels so gooood!' That should count, shouldn't it?"
Kira blushed to his eartips, a bright red that rather clashed with his hair. "I thought it was just a massage," he protested.
"We've known each other for how many years now? When have I ever given you a massage of any kind?"
Kira sputtered. "I was half asleep! You should know by now that I can't be responsible for anything I say until half an hour after I wake up."
Athrun checked his watch. Yup. It had been thirty-two minutes now since Kira had opened blurry eyes to Athrun running inquisitive fingers through his hair. Athrun had never noticed how fine Kira's hair was. That would explain the gallons of hair gel he used on a regular basis.
"You'd better get dressed," he said. "The concert starts in an hour."
Kira, who had been ranting and seething for exactly the last two minutes, leaped to his feet. "You're still worried about the concert?"
"Aren't you? It's your girlfriend's first concert on Earth."
"How can I possibly face her after... after... I can't even look at myself straight in the mirror anymore." Kira slumped over, covering his face once more.
"There, there, you know Lacus will love you in any circumstances," Athrun comforted him. "I'm sure she'll love the pictures, at any rate."
"Pictures? You took pictures?!" Kira looked freshly horrified.
"Of course. And don't think you can steal them," Athrun warned. "I've locked the camera in my personal lockbox, and you know you can't crack any safe I created."
Kira flapped his arms in the air like some giant aggravated bird. "You're my best friend. How could you betray me like this?"
Athrun shrugged. "Blame your sister." He found it difficult to refuse Cagalli anything these days. Not that he hadn't thoroughly enjoyed executing the plan...
"This was Cagalli's idea?"
"Yup. She even bought the stuff."
Kira glared at the trash can underneath the sink, where the remains of the used foil-wrapped package and the discarded plastic gloves sat innocently. "I'm going to kill her."
"The strawberry pink was Lacus, though." Athrun licked his lips. The scent of fresh strawberries was still heavy in the air. Amazing how genuine the chemical substance smelled.
"Lacus was in on it?"
"She wanted to help, actually. But she couldn't get her hands dirty. Public idol, you know."
Kira looked flabbergasted.
"Anyway, the concert was moved up to today, so she didn't have the time. Speaking of which, you really need to get dressed soon. C'mon, lift up your arms..." Athrun picked up the shirt Kira had laid out the night before, holding it out to the distraught boy.
The shirt was swiped from his hands with animated ferocity.
"Don't you touch me," Kira growled.
Athrun nursed his hand, hurt. "I was just trying to help. Don't be so crabby."
"I have a right to be! I've been..." Kira waved the shirt about, as if trying to flag down a word from thin air. "...defiled!" he finished.
Athrun raised an incredulous eyebrow. "Defiled?" he repeated.
"Defiled. Violated. Unmanned!" Each word was punctuated with ever-wilder hand gestures.
Athrun crossed his arms and hitched his left hip onto the counter. This was just getting better and better. "Aren't we being a little sexist here?"
"You can laugh. You're not the one who's been -- degraded!"
"Denigrated, debased, debauched?" Athrun supplied cheerfully.
"Oh, shut up."
"C'mon, Kira." Athrun reached to pat Kira on the back, disisting when Kira shot him a glare that would rival the sun. "It's not as big a deal as you think."
Kira's mouth set in a firm line. "It's obiously not a big deal to you."
"Honestly, a couple of days and you can forget all about it."
"Because that's what you're going to do, right? Just wreck my life completely, and waltz away to Orb with your girlfriend!"
Kira looked on the verge of exploding again. Certainly being nasty towards his sister meant he'd about reached his limit. Athrun decided to give him a break. (They were going to be late otherwise, after all.) He hooked the trash can towards himself with his bare toes and bent down to retrieve the foil packet.
"What are you doing?" Kira backed away from him as if Athrun were holding some anti-brunette garlic.
Athrun couldn't resist taking another step towards his friend, the packet held in front of him. Kira only nearly avoided tumbling into the bathtub as Athrun brought the feared object to eye level.
"Washes out in two to four days, see?"
Kira stared slightly cross-eyed at the words on the packet in gaping silence before turning evil eyes on his best friend.
"You bastard! You told me it was permanent!"
Athrun shrugged. "Did I?" He made no effort to keep the grin from his face.
Kira seemed about to make some retort, but then his eyes opened wide and he turned and leaped into the tub. He already had the shower on before Athrun could take the two steps toward him to drag him away.
"Let go of me! I can still get rid of it!"
"Nuh-uh. No way." Athrun wrestled a frantic Kira back onto the toilet seat, steam beginning to rise around the both of them as Athrun had no hands free to turn off the spray. "You have to get dressed. Ten minutes and we have to be out of here." The doorbell rang. "There's Cagalli now."
They had timed this, of course.
Kira made another break to get away. "Nooo, let me go--!"
"Hey, you're not going to spoil this for Lacus, are you?"
"What?" Kira stilled, understandably confused. Athrun took the opportunity to shove a towel at him.
"She's been looking forward to being a matched set with you."
"She wants to see me like this...?" Kira's eyes narrowed. "You're lying," he accused.
"Of course not," Athrun said. And he wasn't -- completely. He handed Kira his dropped shirt. "You think Cagalli would have chosen pink hair dye on her own?"
Kira ran a hand through his newly-colored locks in reflex.
The doorbell rang again.
"Well?" Athrun cocked his head in invitation. The shushing of the shower was the only sound for several seconds.
Finally, Kira sighed. "All right, all right. Let's go." He pulled the shirt on in defeat.
When they opened the door to Cagalli in the requisite evening gown -- formal wear of an invitee of high political standing -- she snickered so hard Athrun was in serious worry she would topple over on her high heels.
"Wait till Lacus sees this!" she chortled, after which Athrun had to step in to keep Kira from choking his sister to death.
They made it to the concert on time, but afterwards when they met backstage Lacus had to take several minutes to gather herself together. Wiping the tears from her eyes, she declared the strawberry better than she had hoped for, and she kissed her flushed boyfriend on the nose. They took a matching couples picture for posterity.
The dye washed out in only one and a half days due to a vigorously thorough bathing ritual, and that seemed to be the end of that.
Until Athrun woke up the next Monday with Goldilocks ringlets.