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Zen and the Art of Hair Maintenance

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It had taken Susan a solid hour and a half just to work the knots out of Delenn's hair, and that using a heavy conditioner, and patiently combing from the very ends up to the roots, centimetre by centimetre until it hung straight again.

Delenn knelt patiently on the floor in front of Susan, hands folded in her lap, not making a sound even when Susan accidentally tugged too hard, the pull of the comb seeming to have cooled her earlier temper. Susan too found the motions oddly calming. She'd never done this before, this grooming of another person, but liked how it felt. She wondered if her mother had found this peace when she'd brushed and brushed and brushed Susan's hair, all those years ago.

When she'd rinsed and dried the hair again again, her hands sliding smoothly though the strands, she showed Delenn how to set it in curls, if she wanted, and how to braid the ends, though that looked strange with her crest, and how to pin a low twist and bun at the nape of her neck.

"Thank you," Delenn said, catching Susan's hand as it rested on her shoulder. "You are very skilled."

"It was my fall back if the whole fighter pilot thing didn't work out," Susan replied, then added, "That's a joke," when Delenn looked at her utterly seriously. She'd meant to deflect the sentiment, but now just felt more awkward. "You're lucky I didn't set it on fire."

"In that case, I am additionally grateful," Delenn said, and the corner of her mouth turned up enough to let Susan know it was safe to smile back.