Call this a small prequel to the modern AU I’ve been noodling on. You can blame @a-really-bad-decision for the fact that the twins own a salon, because as soon as I heard that, I went “yeeesssssss” and it became canon for this ridiculous universe.
Shaun Gilmore has seen a lot since he moved his bookstore into this building. He’s seen half a dozen landlords come and go in the same number of years. He’s seen a consignment shop, an art studio, a lawyer’s office, and most recently a yarn store try and fail to make the space next door work. It’s a hard life, trying to run an independent business. And this neighborhood is harder than most; his own fortunes have waxed and waned over the years, but gentrification is slowly creeping up on this area of Emon, and whatever his personal feelings about that, it’s nothing but good for his business. (And for Kima’s, though she bitches about it at every turn. He just keeps reminding her of all the new residents who can afford to pay for self defense and martial arts lessons. He knows she’s borrowed money from Allura to keep her place afloat, and is desperate to pay it back. At this point, she can’t afford to turn her nose up at hipsters. That doesn’t stop her, of course.)
When he hears that his new landlords are opening a hair salon in the abandoned space between his shop and Kima’s studio, he doesn’t bat an eyelash. It’s a niche that no one has successfully filled in this neighborhood yet, not unless you count the old-school barber shop in the strip mall a couple miles away. He wishes them well, for their own sakes, and for his - it would be nice to have the same landlords for at least a couple of years in a row. And he genuinely liked the young woman who came to introduce herself last week. Vex’ahlia (“call me Vex”) has a pile of dark hair, a winning smile, and a giant brown Newfoundland with impeccable manners. “My brother’s the stylist, I just handle the money,” she said, winking at him. “And I promise I’m not as scary as my brother.”
Shaun expects she was lying about that last part. Not that Vax’ildan isn’t dangerous. It’s just not the kind of dangerous he was expecting.