Another old fic, written before the series ended. Also contains an original character, even though ikka isn’t exactly fond of those. *sighs*
No specific timeline setting, though definitely after the Voodoo Child arc/Volume 30 when Kazuki cut his hair. Carries very faint hints of Kazuki/Ren as well. Other than that…no, there’s nothing much else of note.
Disclaimer: Icarisain does not own Get Backers in any shape or form, this is a work of fiction.
As anyone who has experience of living in it can tell you, Lower Town has been in and out of constant mayhem and chaos since forever. Nowadays, this state is usually due to one of MakubeX’s many ideas, like the Hide-and-Seek Competition, which are quite harmless most of the time and give the residents some entertainment in their otherwise busy/boring/hunted lives. Before, such…”fun” would have been but another dream. In the days gone by, the mayhem and chaos had been of bloodshed and violence, and the scars on the walls from the gang war era are but one of many reminders.
Such unrest made setting up business almost impossible, as there were hardly any place where one could have a shop of their own and be certain that customers would be able to return to it two days later and not find only a pile of rubble. Not to say that such places didn’t exist, but they were certainly few and far between. Those who survived were usually businesses necessary for the well-being for both pauper and warlord, like the Radou clinic and the food hawkers scattered in many corners.
By the time the reign of the teenage king had come about, there was only one barbershop left in the whole of Lower Town. Punks wanted their hair dyed. The occasional lady wanted a trendy hairstyle. Even some of the older folks came by to get whatever miracle potion they could lay their hands on to counter a speedily receding hairline. No matter the state of their non-existent bank balances, there were always people who paid attention to their hair. This naturally led to the current boss, Asaba Keigo, a young man who had inherited the shop from his father, leading a busy life that nevertheless earned him a rather tidy sum at the end of every day.
In his time, he had even gotten a few big names sitting in his old and slightly tattered stuffed chairs before the huge mirrors. Some had even been nice enough to agree to a picture or an autograph. These he framed and hung on the back wall for all to see. They also served as a deterrent that kept flared tempers from trashing his place. After all, who would dare to slam the door too hard and risk stopping the one and only Dr. Jackal from his monthly trim?
Today, however, Keigo experienced one of the greatest horrors in his twenty-nine years when the customer he had least expected came in through the door and asked for his services.
“But…! I can’t possibly!”
A fine eyebrow was raised at this statement…or outburst, if you so prefer.
“I…I mean, um…”
His latest patron sighed inwardly, found a seat that didn’t have too much stuffing coming out of the sides, and sat down in a manner an onlooker might term elegant. “If you don’t mind, I would prefer to have my haircut before the next century arrives. Shoulder length, but keep the sides. Just make the back shorter.”
“Won’t you please reconsider? I have here a few styles that might interest you…”
“I have a date in less than three hours. If you are still gaping at me by then, I will truss you up, leave you to hang on Kakkei Sakura’s bedroom sill, and let her decide your fate.” A dangerous threat indeed — even if Sakura wasn’t around, the other VOLTS members (especially her brother) would probably be there to make the peeping Tom suffer a horrible fate.
Keigo was treading on thin, thin ice indeed. He decided to choose his words carefully.
“You have hair some people can only dream of, sir! It is so shiny and obviously well-maintained and it really, really brings out your eyes…wouldn’t you want to let…”— was Ito no Kazuki straight or not? —“…your date have some hair to put their hands through?”
Both of Kazuki’s eyebrows looked as if they were in danger of disappearing into aforementioned hair and never see the world again. “Normally I’m sufficiently polite and coherent enough…do you not understand what I said, or should I address you using archaic honorifics, sire?”
“It’s…it’s not that! I just cannot bear to cut away such wonderful hair…you should see the people that come in with the most unimaginable hair all the time…”
At this, Kazuki really did sigh. “This is Lower Town, after all. And it should be my freedom to choose whether to go skinhead…” —Keigo looked and felt as if he would have a panic attack— “…or let my hair grow out to the length it used to be, am I right?”
“Yes, sir…” With much sadness and reluctance, Keigo started work.
About half an hour later, Kazuki left for his date with the lovely young lady a few blocks down the street, leaving poor Keigo to feel a sense of great loss. Not for himself, but for his customer.
The feeling was quickly overcome by a sudden thought: Ito no Kazuki was still widely known to be single! He, Asaba Keigo, 29, master hairdresser, had just uncovered that elusive part of the man’s life when all the gossip-mongers and information traders had failed to do so!
This was going to be very, very interesting…