There had to be a trick to it, Cyrus thought as he pushed the strand of hair away from his face again. And once more, predictably, it flopped right back into place. He groaned and turned away from the mirror in frustration.
This was stupid anyway. He was going on a ship raid, of all things and here he was, spending far too long in the bathroom of his quarters fussing with his appearance. He’d never taken this much time before, why should he now? Who cares if his hair was a mess? Who cares if he looked like he just rolled out of bed? Or like he was wearing a rather stifling hat all day? Who would even care?
He would, he realized after a moment, spinning back towards the mirror and trying again, to no avail. He would, because she would. Or maybe she wouldn’t. But what if she did? What if Addy, working alongside him, looked over as he navigated the Society frigate’s security console and realized just how much of a dork he was?
Unfortunately, no matter what he did, no matter how much product he used, he looked no more put-together than he ever did. But not in the good way that other people seemed to manage. Not in the carelessly handsome, ‘don’t you want to run your hand through my natural manly locks’ way that Finn or his brother had somehow mastered. He just looked like a–
And then it hit him. His brother. He glanced towards the hatch leading into the command deck hallway. Slowly, carefully, he crept over to it and lifted the lock. The deck was quiet, empty. Perfect.
Before that had the chance to change, he scurried down the ladder, crossed the hall and climbed up into Fiearius’ quarters which were also, mercifully, empty. And surprisingly, cleaner than he had ever seen them. The usual piles of clothing scattered across the floor seemed to be neatly put away in the closet. The array of garbage, trinkets and junk that littered the room was nowhere to be found. Most strange of all, the bed was made.
Cyrus blinked at it in confusion for a moment before deciding he didn’t need, nay, want to know and headed into the bathroom, also, it seemed, recently wiped down. He opened the cabinet, which was organized, and started shuffling through its contents: a surprising amount of painkillers that was unsurprising given their owner, quite a few varieties of sleeping pills, a few unmarked containers of mystery substance, one untouched jar of vitamin tablets and of course, a half-consumed bottle of gin. No grooming products in sight.
No, Cyrus refused to believe that. There was no way Fiearius’ hair just…looked like that. It was impossible. There had to be some secret ingredient, some extra step. They were brothers, for the gods’ sakes. They had the same genetics. How could Fiearius wake up with hair that seemed to attract half the women in the span while Cyrus woke up looking like an eleven year old boy taking school pictures? It didn’t make sense.
As Cyrus leaned down to search the cabinet under the sink instead — did he really have a blender in there? Why? — he suddenly heard the horrifying sound of the hatch behind him swing open.
Instantly, he froze, obviously caught red-handed as he was halfway inside the cabinet reaching for whatever was at the back of it. Slowly, he withdrew himself and looked, red-faced in embarrassment, up at Fiearius who too had paused near the door to stare back at him.
“Can I help you?” he asked after a moment, as though unsure whether to be amused or annoyed.
Cyrus blinked back at him. “Um. No,” he decided at last before pushing himself to his feet and quietly shutting the cabinet. That hatch Fiearius was blocking looked rather enticing right then. Unable to reach it, however, he said the first thing that came to his mind, “Your room’s really clean.”
Here, Fiearius laughed. “Yeah, someone said it was driving her nuts,” he admitted with a shrug. “Did up the whole place herself. I didn’t argue…”
Someone, he’d said. Of course, the same someone who had been spotted a lot more frequently around the command deck these days. As much as Cyrus didn’t want to address that any more than it had to be, he would take anything to steer this away from why he was searching his sibling’s bathroom. So he asked, “So. Leta cleaned your room?” When Fiearius did nothing but blink back at him innocently, Cyrus muttered, “Guess you two are working out okay, then?”
Fortunately, mercifully, Fiearius just smiled back at him with a knowing smirk and said, “We don’t have to talk about that.”
“Oh,” said Cyrus at once, glancing towards the hatch again. “Okay. Well…I’m gonna go get–”
“I think you want this,” Fiearius said suddenly, moving over to a shelf and picking up a non-descript bottle of white liquid on which someone had written in thick black letters ‘SOAP’. He headed to the bathroom with it and held it out to Cyrus, glancing briefly at his younger sibling’s shiny mess of a hairstyle. “Right?”
Tentatively, Cyrus took the bottle from him and looked it over. It looked like any old shampoo. “Uhm…”
“Wash it with that, air dry and shake,” Fiearius instructed simply.
Cyrus looked up at him, skepticism written over his face. “Shake?”
Fiearius grinned. “Shake.”
Well. That wasn’t exactly the secret recipe he’d been thinking of, but…if it worked. “Thanks,” he muttered, “Well I’ll just–”
“Don’t wear this either,” Fiearius interrupted suddenly, lifting the hood of Cyrus’ shirt distastefully. “Something darker. Oh and here.” Abruptly, he turned away and started digging under his bed until he producer, of all things, a compact and rather dangerous-looking assault rifle. “You can borrow this,” he said, shoving it into his hands.
Cyrus stared down at the weapon in his arms in mild horror. “I don’t even know how to–”
“You won’t need to,” Fiearius assured him. “Just hold it. Trust me.” When Cyrus just continued to look up at him in stunned confusion, Fiearius grinned proudly and patted him on the shoulder. “You’ll be great, I know it.”
As briskly as though there was nothing unusual whatsover, he spun on his heel and headed for the hatch. “We’re leaving in a few hours, hurry up and get ready, Romeo,” he called as he started to climb down the ladder, leaving Cyrus still standing quietly in his bathroom wondering why he had ever left his own quarters to begin with.