Hide's hair is almost long enough to touch his shoulders.
He wants to wait a while longer before making an appointment at the salon, so that it would be worth his time and money to get his hair re-dyed. But, he resigns that he has put off getting it cut for long enough - with a job interview looming in his future, it would be in his best interests to have his hair at a respectable length.
Hide strolls into the hair salon down the street from his parents’ house, laying his headphones to rest on his shoulders. Hide hadn’t called to make an appointment beforehand, taking his chances on whatever hairdresser is available at the time, if any. In the back of his mind, Hide hopes for an excuse to keep his long hair.
The salon is small and clean, the atmosphere smelling faintly of hair product. Leaning against the front counter is a girl with a very funky head of blue hair. She looks up through her bangs at Hide and straightens her posture as he approaches.
“Hi, um, I don’t have an appointment, but is there anyone available for a wash and cut right now?” Hide gives her a lopsided grin, running a hand through his hair.
The girl raises an eyebrow at Hide and his excessive amount of blond locks, and says “Yeah, there’s one guy who might have time, gimme a sec,” and with that she turns on her heel to talk to one of the hairdressers at work behind her.
“Hey new guy, you almost done?”
Hide leans forward over the counter to see the “new guy” that the funky-haired girl has so brashly addressed.
A man with neat white hair and a cute round face who looks to be about Hide’s age nods his affirmative to the girl. Hide feels a sense of impending doom.
Oh shit he’s cute.
The girl is back, and doesn’t seem to take notice of Hide’s lovestruck expression, saying “Kaneki will be with you in a couple of minutes.”
Hide sprawls on the chair at the front of the store that will allow him the best view of the very attractive hairdresser. Kaneki, the girl had said.
Hide thinks his luck is either very good or extremely piss-poor. The awkwardness of hair-cuts is tenfold when your hairdresser is that attractive. But damn Hide appreciates a cute face when he sees one, so he prepares to turn up his charm metre for a pleasant, definitely-not-awkward hair-cutting experience.
Hide perks up in his seat as the woman who’s hair Kaneki has just finished cutting pays at the counter, a very satisfied look on her face and a gleam to her hair. She waves and calls “Thank you” to Kaneki on her way out.
Kaneki waves back and gives her a small smile that Hide has deduced to be genuine and completely adorable. Kaneki turns his attention to Hide and oh god am I blushing I think I’m blushing, damn it be cool Hide be cool
Hide leaps up for his chair a bit too quickly, flashing one of his signature grins and saying “Ah, Hello!” a bit too loudly.
Kaneki offers a greeting in return, and pushes off the counter.
“Come sit down over here so I can wash your hair, yeah?” He motions for Hide to follow.
“Coming!” Hide says with his usual enthusiasm, which seems to amuse Kaneki. He plunks down onto the chair by the sink with too much force. He leans back before Kaneki can get the towel around his shoulders. He leans forward with a nervous smile. Calm down, you’re making a dumbass of yourself…
Kaneki successfully wraps the towel around his shoulders once Hide has removed his headphones, and says, conversationally, “Oh, I didn’t get your name.”
“Hideyoshi!” is Hide’s cheerful reply as Kaneki tilts his head back into the sink. “Hide is just fine though.”
Hide mentally congratulates himself for using a sentence longer than two enthusiastic words.
“Got it, Hide.” Further conversation is cut short by the noise of the water running as Kaneki soaks Hide’s hair. Hide gets a nice view of Kaneki’s chest and arms, very pleased with Kaneki’s wardrobe choice of a thin t-shirt that shows off his rather sculpted frame.
As Hide comes to the conclusion that Kaneki must work out regularly (nice), Kaneki turns off the tap and dispenses hair product into his palm. Capable hands thoroughly massage the product into Hide’s scalp, and for a moment all Hide’s brain can comprehend is “Hot guy strong hands in my hair wow” before he can’t help but imagine Kaneki’s fists clenched in his hair for different reasons. Whoooooah back it up Hide you so do not need to be thinking about this right now
Hide internally scolds himself for being creepy while Kaneki rinses his hair clean of foam.
“Alright, we’re done here,” Kaneki informs him as he removes the towel, “just sit down in the empty chair by the counter.” He points.
Hide gives Kaneki a salute and an “Alright!” while Kaneki finishes cleaning up the sink area. Hide takes a seat and prepares himself for round two, where the real charmery is sure to begin.
Kaneki joins Hide, his reflection in the mirror giving Hide the ability to admire the rest of his hairstylist. And also his outrageously long hair, which Kaneki wastes no time in addressing:
“So, how much do you want to take off?”
Hide shows Kaneki the length he’d like his hair shortened to, not quite as short as he’s had it in the past, but somewhere in between his current length and his usual style.
“Ok, got it,” Kaneki gets to work. Hide’s heart rate speeds up as Kaneki’s fingers run through his hair and start making cuts in the appropriate places. Ok ok conversation here we gO-
“So, what do you do, Hide?”
Hide is surprised but snaps to attention quickly. Small talk can’t be that hard.
“Oh, I go to university! I’m majoring in international studies,” Hide says, “what about you?”
“Um, I cut hair.”
“Yeah. Yeah! Of course you do!” The part of himself that Hide liked to think of as “smooth” has just left the building and Hide wants to run out after it.
To his beating heart’s dismay, Kaneki chuckles, and it’s really cute, and yep Hide’s luck is definitely piss-poor.
“Ok, what do you do when you’re not cutting hair?” There is still a chance to salvage this conversation you can do it Hide
“Let’s see…I read, mostly.” There’s a shy undertone to his voice as Kaneki continues snipping away at Hide’s hair, and Hide hopes his short reply means he’s single – not that Hide has a chance. But.
“Yeah, you look like someone who reads a lot. What kinds of things do you read?”
The cute shyness intensifies as Kaneki tentatively babbles about his favourite genres, authors, works. He is definitely pleased that Hide had asked, but needs encouragement to carry on. Hide was obliged to comment and engage Kaneki further – especially if it meant he got to see Kaneki so passionate and impossibly cute.
Their conversation drifts naturally to nothing in particular – school, work, hobbies, life. Hide is lulled into a false sense of security, infatuation making him dopey.
When Kaneki gestures to his hair and asks “How do you like it?” it dawns on Hide that we would have to leave the company of the most attractive and easy to talk to person he’s ever met.
Nooo, his mind protests.
On the other hand, his hair looks great. Hide wonders why he wouldn’t let anyone cut it for the longest time. “Wow, this is perfect, thanks!” Noooo, his head continues to scream when Kaneki removes the drape and Hide steps off the chair.
The girl at the counter gives Hide’s new hair a nod of approval as Hide dejectedly fishes his wallet out of his pocket. He pays what is due, exceeding the amount he had originally planned on spending.
Kaneki joins the girl at the counter, giving Hide a tiny smile and wishing him to have “a nice day” and making it so much harder for Hide to leave.
But what did he expect to happen, anyway?
Hide forcibly turns away from the counter with a “Thanks, you too!” and exiting the shop feels like the worst mistake he’s ever made.
“You really hit it off with that customer, didn’t you,” Touka says in a knowing, sing-song voice.
“Well yeah, he was really nice…” Kaneki half-mumbles. Really nice and also quite pretty, once he got all that hair out of the way. Smells nice, too. Touka does not need to know this.
Hide sits in class, absently running a hand through his hair. He’s gotten used to his head feeling lighter – if his light-headedness was induced by the lack of hair or the hairdresser’s adorableness, Hide isn’t sure.
He tries to will his roots to grow in faster, damn it, so he can make another hair appointment.
Hide figures he’s just being over-dramatic, but he really couldn’t help being hopelessly drawn to Kaneki. He was such good company. And super good-looking.
After seeing his freshly cut hair, Hide’s mother had commented about how she missed his nice, short hair.
Maybe Hide wouldn’t wait so long after all.
The next day, Hide calls the local salon to make an appointment with Kaneki.
It’s been two weeks since he was there the first time – two weeks too long, Hide thinks as he walks through the salon door. He isn’t sure how he’s going to explain why he’s back so soon.
Kaneki is waiting at the counter, and the girl from before is making up a customer’s hair. She gives Kaneki a smirk that Hide interprets as a good omen.
“Hey there, Kaneki!”
Kaneki visibly brightens, and dear god his smile is better than Hide remembers.
“Hide, you’re back already?” Kaneki sounds anything but displeased with this fact.
Hide scratches his cheek, “Yeah, uh – this style is great, you did exactly what I wanted, but you know, it made me realize how much I miss short hair.”
“All right – shall we?” he gestures to the back of the room, where the sinks are.
The hair washing process is repeated, with much less fumbling this time around. Kaneki hums as he works, and his hands feel impossibly good.
Once Hide is again seated at Kaneki’s workspace, Kaneki asks him “So, how short do you want to go this time?”
Hide recounts his past experiences with shorter, spiky hair to Kaneki, who nods in understanding.
“Yeah, that look suits you.”
“Aha, you think so?” and so the playful chatter ensues.
At the same time, Kaneki cuts away at Hide’s hair with choppy movements. Hide becomes entranced at the expertise Kaneki operates with. Kaneki moves to cut away at the sides of Hide’s hair and his knuckles brush Hide’s cheekbone and oh man Hide is blushing a lot. Kaneki has such nice hands.
Hide ponders how to go about asking your hairdresser on a date. Perhaps he should wait longer and meet with Kaneki a few more times before making an attempt.
It’s been three months since his first appointment with Kaneki and Hide’s hair is the shortest and blondest it’s ever been.
No longer is Hide a pudding head, sacrificing his signature brown roots for more time with Kaneki. He’s gotten the sides of his head just short of buzzed, the top of his hair coming to short spikes.
He feels that he knows Kaneki well enough to call him a friend, so it’s totally worth it.
Hide, as perceptive as ever, has become cable of distinguishing between the masks Kaneki wears as he socializes, discovered his quirks, and mentally documented his habits. He’s become a regular at the salon to the point where he is on good terms with all the employees there.
But now, what reason does he have to go back anytime soon? Hide briefly considers what he would look like with his head completely buzzed. His gushing crush on Kaneki has only worsened with all the time spent talking together.
“Awww, are you sad your ~favourite customer~ hasn’t come in today?”
Kaneki halfheartedly grumbles an exasperated “Touka-chan,” from his place slumped over the counter. It’s been a slow day. He’s thankful his shift ends early.
When Hide’s younger brother announces that he’s going out to get his hair cut, Hide immediately declares “I’ll go with you!!”
Despite his brother’s protests that he is fourteen and can walk down the street by himself and don’t you have homework or something, Hide happily accompanies him to his favourite hair-cutting establishment on Earth.
Hide nearly collides with the very reason for his visit as it heads out the door.
“Oh, Hide, I didn’t know you were coming in today,” Kaneki says, lovely grey-blue eyes round in surprise.
Hide doesn’t pay attention to his brother rolling his eyes and entering the store without a word to Hide.
“Haha, uh, I’m not here for me, my brother is…hey, are you free right now?”
Kaneki tilts his head in confusion, too used to hearing that phrase in the context of whether or not he’s available for an appointment to comprehend Hide’s intentions.
“I mean, we could go get lunch or something. Or just coffee if you don’t do food.”
Kaneki’s confusion is replaced with astonishment at being seen through so easily. His stomach flops over.
“You – you could tell?” Kaneki panics at the thought of his identity being revealed to clients. People didn’t like the idea of ghouls handling their hair.
Or much else, honestly. Despite the attempt at integration, it was rather hard for a ghoul – or half-ghoul, for that matter – to find a job.
“Lucky guess, really.” Actually, less of a guess and more expectation – Hide has a history of crushing on ghouls. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone, I can see how that would be bad for business, hah…”
The reassurance calms Kaneki’s nerves, enough so that he is able to re-asses Hide’s proposition.
“Well…sure, I’d love to get coffee.”
Kaneki offers a bashful smile and Hide thinks he might explode because YES its finally happening oh wait does he know it’s meant to be a date-
Touka chooses this moment to make her presence in the open doorway known.
“Have fun on your date, nerd!” she yells to her co-worker, and much to Kaneki’s embarrassment, the rest of the people milling about the street.
Kaneki hides his red face in his nice hands, muffling an “oh my god…”
Hide laughs, and the stark redness against Kaneki’s pale features and even paler hair is the most adorable thing he’s ever seen.
“You coming?” Hide inquires as he starts to walk down the street.
Kaneki squeaks and catches up to his friend, still embarrassed, but nonetheless excited about this turn of events.