follow the __________

I am now more than a little glad we don’t live anywhere near town center. The edge of town is the perfect place for me. While we might be in danger if there ever is a fire and it takes the fire department a moment to show, I still don’t think it would be an issue, so long as Mira is around though I’m sure Agni would have some control over those flames too. Recently, I guess it’s the height of the heat in July at this point, I’m really just wanting everything to calm down again. Not that I’m wishing it was winter again, last winter was pretty bad but this summer has been tough and hot and dry despite how humid it all feels.

It’s not hard to know what’s been happening, this is an easy case of ‘follow the smoke trails’. Even from our floor I can see the smoke from downtown and it is even more visible from the roof. I’m sure if I’d had to step outside for anything at all today I would have seen it from the ground too. I just hope this one is no where near the library. I could call but I think they might have already called to tell us otherwise.

Wait, can they even call? I think Armin has recently gotten a phone but I don’t even think the twins have one. We might have to rectify that. It would help in making me feel more comfortable about things. I really do feel like a mother bear most of the time lately when I think about these two. I wish Zora would at least open up about whatever she’s been doing of her evenings so we know what’s going on but she’s silent as can be. She’s barely talked to her brothers from what they’ve told me.

Well it doesn’t matter. I’ll make sure they stay here safe with us whenever she decides to do whatever it is she’s spending all of her time on. I really wanted to trust her, I still do want to trust her but she’s just not open to the idea of trusting us since the incident, I suppose I can’t blame her though we’d given her plenty of reason to trust us to this day. One small incident shouldn’t have changed everything though I know life is that way, some people are like that.

“Has it been burning long?” I startle somewhat when Lex pops up over my shoulder to look out the window. I guess I hadn’t realized I’d settled there to look out, I’m not even sure how long I’ve been there.

“What time is it?” I tilt my head to look back up to him and he chuckles softly, ruffling his hand lightly through my hair. “I think you might be due for a haircut and it’s nearly noon.”

Noon. I’ve been sitting here watching this smoke waft about for almost two hours. Most of what’s left now has to just be smoke lifting up from the watered remains, at least I hope. I feel bad for whoever might have lost their roof or their jobs because of that fire. “At least two hours, it was already burning when I first spotted it around ten.”

I lift my hand, feel out my hair. It is getting a little longer than I’m comfortable with, I prefer to usually keep it pretty close cut. No where near a buzz cut, that’s just not my thing but I suppose it’s not much longer. “I guess I am due for a cut, you busy?”

He laughs and without answering he steps back into our bedroom and I know he’s heading into the bathroom to get the scissors and the comb. I could go to a barber or a hairdresser but really, I have no need to when he’s around, he knows how I like my hair cut and he does a wonderful job of it. I trust him with just about anything and everything around my head as necessary and scissors aren’t an issue.

While he’s gathering the necessary bits and pieces from the bathroom, I find that old rug we keep around most for situations like these. I set it out in the living room where the light is brightest and I take one of our kitchen stool and set it in the middle. When Lex comes back, he has the scissors and a fine-toothed comb in one hand and in the other, the hair cutting cape. It’s an old thing, I can’t even remember where or why we got it at all but we have it and it gets its use now and again, like now, of course.

I settle on the stool and he drapes the cape along my throat, settling it along my shoulders and about me. I tilt my head up to him with a soft, playful sort of grin. “Just a little off the top, sir.”

He rolls his eyes, the motion playful and he settles for shortening my hair just so. It always is ‘just so’ when it comes to my hair. I’ve gone through a lot of hair stylists during the decades we were apart and not a single one of them could get my hair done the way I really wanted it to be. I guess I’m picky about this but it is my hair and it’s just one of those things I appreciate about my looks.

“I think the twins might be due for haircuts too though, don’t you think?” It’s a thought that crosses my mind but it’s true. I don’t know how Zora saw to keeping their hair as short as it was when we first met them. I guess she might have managed to beg enough money to get them cuts at barbers around the town.

He shrugs as he snips a bit more hair here and there, I know I’ll need a shower after that and while I’ve had one when I got up, I don’t really mind another one, it’ll get the rest of these fine hairs off of me. They always tickle. “Though I guess it would be up to them to decide if they want their hair shortened or not, it still is pretty short.”

“You’re just used to wearing yours shorter.” He brushes some hair away from the nape of my neck, the scissors snip one last time and he takes one step back. “You’re good to go. Go on and shower, I’ll vacuum this up.”

I nod and he carefully takes the cape off, getting the worst of the cut hair onto the rug I’d set there for that very reason. At least it makes it easier to just pull up the four corners and pretty much just shake it out outside then vacuum the rest up, what little is left.

I stretch, arms high over my head while gazing out the window again. “It’s still smoking though it was a lot darker than that this morning. This is what, the third building that’s been taken down by the flames in the last two weeks?”

I know the number is just about right and I can’t help but find it really sad. Most of the buildings in the downtown area are old, they’re the kind of buildings that you can’t find anymore, they’re not quite ancient but it’s not far from that. It’s a shame to lose that kind of history because of the heat but I know there’s nothing I can do about it. There’s nothing a single one of us can do about it.

A shower will clear my thoughts to a point. Knowing Lex, he might just pull down the inner curtains over the windows. They’re sheer, they don’t hide much but they hide just enough to keep us from staring outside constantly and wondering just how many lives might have been lost in this one.

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